“I’m here because I believe in all of you.”

“I’m here because I believe in all of you. If one of you goes on to create a blog today, then I’ll be thrilled.”

Those are the words of Dawn. She was the last person to share why she was in this workshop we were presenting, Teachers as Writers. Every year, our district has a professional development day called Westport Learns. The entire teaching staff comes together to choose workshops to attend, all presented by teachers in the district.

Dawn, Erika, Elena, and I were presenting Teachers as Writers and hoped to share our experiences starting blogs and being part of the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Community. To be honest, when Erika and Elena pitched the idea, I didn’t think we’d get many participants. I actually figured we’d end up cancelling the workshop due to low enrollment. But we had eleven participants spanning from preschool teachers to middle school and as one participant said, “I think [we] were meant to be there.”

We began the workshop explaining how our presenting group had come to be…how two years ago, on February 28th, Erika had asked me to join her in the Two Writing Teachers’, Slice of Life Challenge. How that next summer a group of teachers got together to read Ralph Fletcher’s, Joy Write at Dawn’s house. How Elena had come to that group. How we are all now part of this beautiful community of writers and what that means for us as teachers of writing. We spoke of many of you, our fellow “slicers,” our virtual friends and the gifts you share with us week after week, through your own words or feedback shared.

We then asked all of the participants to introduce themselves and share why they had come. We didn’t plan for what happened next, but for the next 45 minutes or so, teachers shared about their own writing lives, their dreams and fears. Some teachers spoke of journaling, writing alongside their students, and even of publishing novels. It was through this sharing that we went from a room full of strangers to a new community of writers. I was personally moved by the stories and the openness to try something new…to continue growing.

Dawn was the last to share and her words stuck with me, “I’m here because I believe in all of you.”

These words made me think of something Natalie Louis, from Teachers College, had shared with us recently when she said, “Package up the strength and hand it back to them…no one gets enough of that.”

Dawn’s words and Natalie’s words have me thinking about how to give more of this belief and strength back to people- students, teachers, friends, family, strangers.

In our workshop, the one I thought was doomed for cancellation, I gave it back that day by offering suggestions for blog titles, trouble shooting WordPress and the actual creation of blogs, and through the promise to read the words of anyone who decided they might try a Tuesday Slice of Life Challenge or maybe even the March Challenge.

Today, for all of you, preparing to take on the March Challenge or maybe even just considering, I believe in you. ❤️

 

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Guess who is missing from the photo? The one with the great idea to take a picture of everyone together? The girl with all the belief. ❤️ 

19 thoughts on ““I’m here because I believe in all of you.”

  1. It really was a great session! I too was so impressed and moved by the introductions, the honesty and openness in the sharing. I love this idea – “Package up the strength and hand it back to them…no one gets enough of that.” And of course Dawn’s beliefs are so powerful!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This slice captures the energy that was in the room Friday morning – the energy and excitement to “try something new…to continue growing.” I wish we could have bottled up the energy and risk taking mindset that all those fabulous, brave teachers showed! This one gives meaning to to “when you least expect it….” I know I was surprised by how it all went! It was fabulous watching colleagues have a go! Thanks for listening to me and sharing this slice! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How awesome! I am getting ready to introduce the Slice of Life Challenge to colleagues tomorrow, but unfortunately, it will be a much quicker intro. I love your community and envy the positivity when you write about the group you have formed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You have always been such inspiration to me and have helped me become a better teacher. I was one of the eleven in that room and it was an amazing time. I didn’t want it to end. I never thought that I would start an SOL, but here I am. Thank you is not enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Your post is so inspiring! I, too, have been encouraging others to join the March Challenge!! Thanks for believing in me and the others joining us this March!! I feel stronger being a part of this community of writers and glad we are both in it!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Even from a distance, your group’s writing inspires me. I don’t know how I stumbled upon you all last year – and I don’t know how I figured out that you all knew each other – but I did, and your group helped me keep going. I haven’t found my own in-person group up here, but I look forward to creating one over time using your enthusiasm as a model.

    Liked by 1 person

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