Love what you do.

“Dad has led the Calkins tribe with infectious enthusiasm. I will never forget the last sail with him one summer. The lake sparkled, glistening in that late afternoon glow. As the boat heeled, the water splashing into our faces, I asked if he was sad over the fact this would be the last sail of the summer. Dad told me, “Oh, no. I’m not sad about it. I don’t just like my work. I love it. I love it.” Dad taught all 9 of us kids that there is no greater joy in life than to work hard with people you love on a cause you believe in.”

This was part of Lucy Calkin’s tribute to her father who passed away a few weeks ago. I copied this paragraph and plopped it here, then, knowing I would write about this. I just wasn’t sure when.

This coming Saturday, I had planned to travel to NYC for the TCRWP Saturday Reunion. I rely on this event twice a year gathering to refill my bucket. When word came a little over a week ago that the institute would be cancelled, I was crushed. If there was ever a time for a refill…

Luckily, today, Lucy Calkins and her team offered a Webinar and it gave me the glimmer of hope I know I needed….that so many of us needed.

I love my job. I love working with teachers and kids. I love dreaming up solutions to obstacles. This isn’t an obstacle I would have signed up for. I know none of us would. Faced with the challenge of creating distance learning for kids, k-5, has me losing sleep at night. My days are usually filled with endless possibilities for growing. I’ve had trouble seeing the possibility with this new set of challenges we face. I worry about the tasks we are asking kids to do. It feels like busy work on top of all the challenges I know families are facing right now. I know my own kids’ teachers are trying, but I want more for my kids than apps and worksheets. I want more for all kids.

Lucy and her team echoed what I have been feeling and for that I am grateful. Thousands of people from all over the world logged in for the webinar. “The whole world is here with us. That’s a statement of how adrift we feel. How much we need each other.” She was speaking to me and so many others. We are not alone.

Lucy urged us to rethink what it means to teach. She talked of Sara Ahmed’s idea about going with the curriculum that the world hands you. Right now the world is throwing a lot our way. We get to decide how we respond. We can teach kids to make sense of this chaotic time through reading and writing.

The part that resonated with me most was when Lucy said:

“We are worried about overwhelming families. It would be easy to lower expectations. Remember that kids need meaning, community, and big and important projects. Think about what gives us energy…when work is big and important…Let’s lean on each other and be ambitious-to make the most of this difficult and challenging time.”

We have big and important work to do and I once again feel ready to do my best….because I love my job.

18 thoughts on “Love what you do.

  1. Like you, I was so excited to reconnect with friends tomorrow and fill my own bucket at the TC Reunion. But also like you, I attended the webinar and took my small part in the inspiration Lucy, Mary, Amanda and others tried to provide. Love these lines you wrote: “I worry about the tasks we are asking kids to do. It feels like busy work on top of all the challenges I know families are facing right now. I know my own kids’ teachers are trying, but I want more for my kids than apps and worksheets. I want more for all kids.” This is such a perfect way to say it. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, yes, yes–love what you do. I love this post for its wisdom. You are definitely “going with the curriculum the world” handed you, as are so many teachers today. Keep up the good work.


  3. Thank you for sharing a few snippets from yesterday. I registered but was busy at 4. I hope they release the recording!
    I am struggling with how much for our children and trying to find balance. I appreciate your thoughts as we all sort this out.


  4. It is so important to realize that we are not alone. The uncertainty is real for me, but I’ve decided that it’s okay to be up front about my worries, taking steps to plan ahead, and trying to keep realistic in what I can expect from how others are reacting.


  5. “Big and important work to do”…yes, we do need that, purpose to our projects, not just filling time. Good words to remember as I go into my own weeks of virtual teaching (hopefully just a couple, though steeling myself for more). I’m glad your bucket was filled despite the obstacles!


  6. Not being in the classroom right now really gives us a greater appreciation for being able to teach. Thank you for sharing such positive thinking. We all need find the positive aspects as much as we can.


  7. I couldn’t agree more – it was inspirational. I hope we also give teachers, families, and students time to find their way into this new normal. We need to engage them, not assign them. This will take time. Thank you for inspiring me.


  8. The reunion almost feels like an alternate reality, doesn’t it? I’d been hoping to squeeze in a trip to New York with my family over Spring Break, ending with the day at TC. My husband kept telling me to wait, it wasn’t safe to go, too dangerous with the virus… I, too, loved being part of the online community yesterday. Thanks for sharing your reflections!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the canceled TWRP Institute. It is always an amazing day of learning. I live nearby on Long Island and have gone for years but this year based on the pandemic crisis I forgot all about it. Lucy is an amazing speaker and I wish I had the information about the webinar. If you have a link, could you please send it to me? This statement holds so much truth: “We can teach kids to make sense of this chaotic time through reading and writing.”


  10. Thank you for sharing Lucy Calkins’ message. This is a time to rethink education, an opportunity to do things differently and practice various life skills.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks so much for sharing this. I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around how to hand this remote learning thing–how much is reasonable (and accessible) for parents and kids, but also what will keep them learning, engaged and moving forward. I so wish I’d been able to participate in this webinar and appreciate what you’ve shared here. Lucy’s words about getting energy from big and important work are resonating with me, as are Sara Ahmed’s. Thank you.


  12. I too feel adrift without our spring reunion. I too felt a bit more connected (and a lot more inspired) after the webinar. It’s pretty amazing that we are all in this together – teachers from China, France, Italy, Spain, and all of us in the US. Lucy and her colleagues once again reminded us that what is important right now is learning and responding to what is happening in the world. It’s not about ignoring this pandemic to stare at screens and answer questions online. This is the time we need stories. We need the right books. We need to write the books. These stories have never been told. Let’s get kids to tell them!


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