a moment just before

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”
—A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I’ve found myself sitting here, in the moments just before, wondering where summer went, wondering if I’m ready for the days ahead.

Maybe I should back up a bit; I’ve forgotten something here. . . .

I’m more than excited to tell you, that I’ve taken on a new role in the morning as a Literacy Specialist for 7th and 8th grades. Wahoooooooo! I’m still teaching in the afternoons, but my mornings are about to be busy in a whole new sort of way, and so I’m wondering if I’m ready for the days ahead.

I’ve been dreaming about this very job, living in this “moment just before” for what feels like forever. Honestly I wouldn’t trade any minute of my in the classroom time, but I’ve always wanted to work with adults, to hand them resources, to help them hunt for the perfect solution.

Maybe it has taken me so long to write this to you, because I don’t have the words for the gratitude I’m feeling right now, for this chance, for this dream come true.

But for right now, I’m going to savor this quiet just before we begin; I’m going to remember my roots and how I got right here; I’m going to be thankful for the journey.

Writerly Life

New Website Launch!!—

When notesfromahappyteacher started on January 27, 2011 it was something I knew I should do, but I had no idea how it would change me. It felt like a risk then, to put my words out into the world with potential for disagreement, laughter, and public spelling mistakes. Surly this blog has brought all of those things, but it has also brought the opposite, moments where I have found others whose heart burns with passion for kids just like mine, applause from friends who have been moved, and sentences that reveal the heart of the craft.

And so it is with great enthusiasm, that I announce the launch of the new website. note the difference in the ending. We are an org now. This is certainly one of those big dreams I was talking about. So change us on your favorites and RSS feeders; it’s important to us that you journey with us. Don’t forget to comment and talk, your voice is important and gives us encouragement to keep writing, even when our crazy schedules seem to overtake us.

For now, the website appearance itself will look almost exactly the same, but have no fear friends we will be updating the site itself as well.  I can promise you that we will keep writing, that we will be happy and proud of kids and those moments in our classroom that remind us all we’re in the right profession, at the right time, with a group of kids that were made just for us. We’ll be real, and honest, and maybe a few things we’re still dreaming about . . .


Writerly Life

Confessions of a Dreamer

Do teachers dream? I mean, really dream? Big. Of course we dream of days when all of our students bring a pencil to every class, everyone reads their independent reading book, and journals with enthusiasm.

But I’m not talking about those kinds of dreams; I’m talking about the kind you can’t complain about. The kind of dreams where every student in your school gets an iPad because, well, they’re cool. And a Gallery Invite is an everyday part of life, because your students, wouldn’t have it any other way. All the kids at your school come from supportive families that never fall apart or go through junk. The kind of dreams that just could never happen. Or could they?

I have friends that aren’t teachers (shocking I know). Many of them are dreamers; I think it may be contagious. I spend my nights listening to them dream big, starting new businesses & creating new mindsets— that’s just the beginning. Some people have started building wells in Africa, some have started small businesses that work to empower those with fewer resources, and that’s just the beginning. They’re writing books, making movies, creating.

And me, the teacher? I dream of pencils never needing to be sharpened while I’m talking? Well, okay maybe I do, but this dreaming big thing is starting to work its way into my heart. Because recently, when an idea pops into my head, instead of brushing it off, I’m speaking it aloud and saying, “Why not?”

And so this year I’ve had a Gallery Walk in my classroom, a document camera donated by people outside of my school, and plans to . . . plans to, keep dreaming!

Dreaming is scary business, and I’m not talking little dreams, like being able to take good notes on every writing conference I have (although at some point that dream goal, feels more impossible than others). When do we lose that instinct within us to let out the wild dreams, and then actually believe in our hearts that we can achieve it?

I have some 8th graders that think they might be professional football players and politicians when they grow up. But take me to a first grade classroom, those kids, they dream it and believe it— their desire to be quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles is thwarted only by the realization that they would make a great President, and maybe it would be hard to do both at the same time? Or would it?

So if you’ve got the heart of a first grader, speak it out; what are you dreaming? Who do you want to be when you grow up? Are you a teacher, or are you a dreamer? Can you hold tight to both? I’m trying.