Slice of Life: The Contemplative Quiet of Writing in PD

(I haven’t done a Slice of Life post in a few weeks, but felt this scene deserved its moment.)

Yesterday afternoon, I was facilitating some professional development through the Western Massachusetts Writing Project in a local urban school. We’ve been working with the teachers and administrators there since January, pursuing topics of classroom inquiry to help frame the importance of writing in a school that has struggled over the last few years. As is the custom of WMWP and National Writing Project events, I started us out with a simple “writing into the day” prompt that would lead to discussion. They wrote about an insight gained and a question that remains.

You could hear a pin drop as we all wrote for about 10 minutes. There’s a certain magical silence when a room full of people — teachers or students — are in the act of writing, as if the brainpower and thinking were concentrated on the paper (and computer keyboards). It’s very contemplative to be in the midst of that, isn’t it? Midway through the writing session, the principal (who has been participating when she can) came in, stopped in the doorway and looked at the roomful of her teachers, writing with concentration. I hoped she would not say a thing, and just let the magic continue, but that wasn’t to be.

“What’s going on in here?” she asked.

“Writing,” I replied, and then got her settled into the back of the room, where she started to write, too.

Peace (in the words),
Kevin

 

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7 Comments
  1. It’s wonderful that you were able to build and participate in that kind of environment. So often I’m in places where teachers are reluctant to write – they don’t see themselves as writers… and they know that is part of why they often struggle to teach it.

  2. You could hear a pin drop as we all wrote for about 10 minutes. There’s a certain magical silence when a room full of people — teachers or students — are in the act of writing, as if the brainpower and thinking were concentrated on the paper (and computer keyboards). It’s very contemplative to be in the midst of that, isn’t it?

    YES!

    What a perfect ending! I was expecting the worst!

  3. I love when this magical moment happens in my creative writing classes–and it doesn’t happen often with juniors and seniors–but when it does 🙂 I wish we had this kind of PD happening in our district.

  4. It seems that they are very lucky teachers to be able to do that with you and your group, Kevin. Glad you were able to get the principal “settled” too!

  5. I love the image of all that writing. “The brainpower and thinking concentrated on the paper…” Thanks for sharing!

  6. When the power of a WP extends into school and young and old are writing, that’s powerful. I would love to be a teacher in that school of writers.

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