Lessons I Need to Relearn: Slice of Life #sol21 21/31

I always read the tweets from the Don Graves Write Now Conference with longing–wishing I could be there. This year, thanks to a virtual conference, I was able to attend, and it was exactly what I needed. I took pages of notes, and my camera roll is now full of quotes and writing prompts. I feel recommitted to all of the things I know about reading, writing, and teaching.

What I’m reflecting on this morning is how often I need to relearn the same lessons. I felt so energized and refreshed at the end of the day, so full of learning. And yet there was nothing new. I wrote to writing prompts I’ve used before (in some cases, many many times before). I snapped photos of quotes I’ve copied into my writer’s notebook before. I’ve read all of Linda Rief’s books–more than once–and both of Maja Wilson’s books–also more than once. I’ve heard both present before–Linda Rief many times. There is literally not one word in my notes that I haven’t thought and written before, and yet somehow hearing it all over again yesterday felt so centering and restorative and necessary. I ended the day with a vision for fourth quarter that feels fresh and new, even though it’s exactly the thing I’ve been doing in the classroom for twenty years now.

I wonder why we (I?) need to hear the thing that we already know–hear it again and again–to remember, to hold onto it, to see it fresh, to recommit. It is not that I ever stray in my values and beliefs, but I am not always as strict in my daily practice. I get sloppy, I get distracted by shiny new things. I need these regular reminders of what is essential: reading books we choose, writing what matters, reflecting on our decisions, and talking through it all.

12 thoughts on “Lessons I Need to Relearn: Slice of Life #sol21 21/31

  1. I feel the same way about repetitions. I think you hit on it when you said we get sloppy or distracted. Things come at us that take us out of our lane or off a path. I guess it’s similar to an athlete still practicing after 30 years of playing a sport. I don’t know about the Don Graves Write Now Conference. Is it for all levels? I have loved his books since my first year of teaching.

  2. I had no idea how I did not hear about this conference before this week! I love Linda Rief and first met her years ago at Ruth Culhum’s Writers at Work conference. She changed my writing world with quickwrites! Thank you for posting about it!

  3. There is a lot of wisdom in this post. I wonder how a person can be more intentional, how a person can bring themselves to this kind of commitment every day. What do you think?

  4. It’s comforting—and new, too, to realize “I know that and do that; Yay!” I am a bit envious that you are loving PD while I am in a “saying no” mood right now to all extra input. I love Rief and the entire inspirational crew at UNH Summer Institutes. How wonderful for you to have a fourth quarter boost. Ride that wave.

  5. Learning is the child of repetition. And practice. And creating new things. The surprising part for us as educators is that it’s a lesson we must relearn over and over again. The tendency to get sloppy is real. The tug of shiny new things on our attention can create a drag. Our fresh wisdom from 2 weeks or 2 years or 2 decades ago loses its shine in the crush of our day to day. A great polish from time to time like the conference you describe can be just the thing to bring back the old shine!

  6. Your post really spoke to me. I attended a different set of workshops yesterday, and while I did learn some tips and ideas that I will take with me, much of it reinforced what I am doing or what I know. And, you are totally right – hearing the information whether new or not, is totally inspiring. So interesting!

  7. I sometimes think that we get bogged down by what needs to be done and the time frame we have in which to do it that we forget what we know works and is of value to us and our students. We need reminders that tell us we are the ones who know our students best and what works for them.

  8. Wow, you just totally wrote my experience as a writing teacher. I often find myself trying to rewrite the very thing I know to be true. You are so lucky to have seen all these incredible educators. And, isn’t it fun to relearn the best lessons?! I would love to have a peek at your notebooks.

  9. THIS. I’m thinking about this, and I’m wondering for myself why I need to relearn so many lessons. Sometimes it’s because my brain is convinced, but not my heart. Others, the lesson pops up in different contexts and I don’t recognize them approaching until after the fact. And sometimes, they are lessons I know I know, but it feels validating to know that other people think they’re important. Thanks for this beautiful post.

  10. I would never think I knew everything there is to know about anything. Yes, I need reminders, but more than that, I think we need to hear the voices of those we model each day in our classrooms. I miss so much the energy that a good writing conference provides. I’m glad you were able to get recharged.

  11. What the conference did for you, your post did for me. That last paragraph says it all — we need repetition of things we believe in because we tend to get careless and lose track. It works well to periodically re-read, re-listen, renew our thoughts and beliefs.

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