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What I can add

I’ve read several blog posts by friends and colleagues from the NWP.  With each one, I think, “Yes, that’s just the right tone,” or “Wow, that was really well-supported and organized,” and even “Oh, I’m so glad you mentioned all these great people!”  With each new post I read, the pressure mounts.  I’m compelled to write, too, even though I’ve never written a blog.  By this point, I’ve read many great posts supporting the NWP.  These teacherwriterthinkers are wonderful.  I feel a bit intimidated.

What can I possibly add?

Oh yes, but that’s just what the NWP does.  It brings me in contact with people who amaze and inspire me.  It forces me to see myself and my teaching and my students in a new light.  It asks me to open the door, take a chance, try something new, and then share it with others.  Because writing isn’t just done in isolation; it’s meant to be shared.  And for now, we still have this incredible network of teachers who share not only their writing, but their passion, their great ideas, and their struggles in the classrooms across our country.

And so, I’m here, writing my first blog post about a bright spot, perhaps the brightest spot in the profession of teaching.  Politicians and pundits may put teachers down, but I can’t think of another organization that enhances, challenges, and elevates our profession more.  Through and because of my association with the NWP over the past nine years, I have

*valued the input of teachers of writing from all grade levels

*taken on leadership roles in my school and community

*listened better to opposing viewpoints

*written more

*asked my students to write more often

*enjoyed reading my students’ work more than ever before

*borrowed umpteen wonderful teaching strategies

*integrated the use of technology in my classroom

*collaborated with teachers and schools from across my city

*encouraged my colleagues to write, to publish, to present

*incorporated a habit of inquiry into my teaching

*been challenged to think about access, relevance, and diversity

*studied the work of great teachers from across the country

*laughed.  a lot.

*become a better learner and a better teacher

I am shocked, saddened, and angered that our senators and congressional representatives have chosen to eliminate funding for such a vital, successful educational organization.  If they won’t fund what so obviously works, what hope does our educational system have?