Monday, August 8, 2016

Inspiration to Teach: Reflection on Northern Shores Writing Project

I've been meaning to write a bit about my experience with NSWP from back in June, but, due to dividing my summer time between preparing for the next school year (both NMU and CAVE), having a ton of adventures with my almost-two-year-old, traveling, writing, and, occasionally, basking in a moment of tranquility, I haven't had the chance until today. The NSWP was an incredibly valuable experience in many ways, so, as in times when I feel a bit overwhelmed, I'll limit it to a list.

1. Interacting with other teachers. I cannot stress how valuable this is. As a virtual teacher, I simply do not get enough time with my peers. Last week, my virtual school had an inservice, and together we shared how desperate we are for more time together. Other teachers are and will always be my inspiration.

2. New Ideas. The teachers I joined at NSWP were brilliant writers and genius teachers. They gave me so many ideas and shared creative and fun lesson plans and stories. Enough said.

3. Feeling invigorated to re-enter the classroom. My first teaching job did not end the way I envisioned it. If we're being truthful, it didn't begin the way I imagined it either. I had so much passion but I was woefully unprepared and didn't know 1/10 of what I know today about effective teaching. (I wholeheartedly offer an apology to my first students, if any of them are reading.) Spending the past year in my Master's program -- and getting to know other people passionate about teaching, both on and off campus -- has been like a lightning bolt to my chest. I feel inspired to become a highly effective teacher and to get back into the classroom whenever possible.

In two weeks, I teach my first college-level class: English 111. This feels both like an incredibly exciting opportunity and a reason to enter into panic mode. Though I can't completely neglect the twisting feeling in the pit of my stomach, I'm viewing this as the exciting opportunity it is, thanks in part to NSWP.