On Friday I'll be leading an all-day professional development workshop, right here at the Harmony School, on "Teaching Writing As Art and Practice." This is a big deal for me, and I'm kind of nervous. I began my association with the school as the naive parent of a chatterbox kindergartener. I morphed into a volunteer who taught poems and songs to K-1 students. Then I was tapped to replace the part-time K-8 music teacher, so I taught at the school once a week for seven years . . . mostly singing but with a bit of poetry slipped in. My title was "long-term sub," and I was definitely in apprentice mode--absorbing teaching skills on the fly, watching the professionals around me, trying out new things and failing every day.
My tenure at the school ended when the state began enforcing certification, even for such an extremely part-time position in such a remote, difficult-to-staff location. I continued to occasionally volunteer as a writer in my sons' classes, but the school was immersed in administrative turmoil for a few years, and no one was at all focused on taking me seriously as a writing specialist.
Years passed. And then suddenly, without warning: "We have a grant. Would you be willing to come in and lead an inservice workshop and a student writing day?" The last time I saw most of these teachers, I was sitting in a parent-teacher meeting or maybe helping the nurse with the eye exams. To be invited in as the expert is a very, very strange sensation.
But wait, there's more: after that's over, there's Saturday, when I'll be playing my first-ever gig at a motor lodge. I can't wait to give you the lowdown on this one.