When I joined a conversation with a broader education community during this past year, my teaching was transformed. I realized that everyone has something to contribute. We all have different experiences, locales, giftedness, and interests. I began to find my voice.
I like the way Malyn Mawby, a wise woman who blogs at Love2Learn, describes this. She wrote a great post called “Of Hopes and Dreams” where she shares about what she wants for her growing children. Her hope for her children is not just for “happiness,” which is vague. Instead, her hope is for her children “to find and use their voice.” Nice!
Voice has been on my mind lately, as I consider the one-year anniversary of the transformation of my teaching. I want to continue to grow and contribute, so I have decided to join the 30 Goals Challenge led by Shelly Terrell. The first goal is a Me Manifesto.
Today my manifesto, which is continually developing, centers around the word VOICE.
I find ways for each of my students to develop and use his/her voice inside and outside of the classroom.
I share my voice with the world.
I join with other passionate educators and pre-service teachers who are finding and sharing their voices.
Throughout the challenge, I will share more about what drives me. It will be good to develop this manifesto over the course of the challenge.
The roads were 100% snow covered in some areas, and I had precious cargo in the van with me–students on the way to a quiz bowl meet. There were dozens of photographs jumping out to be taken, but I had precious cargo and I couldn’t stop–we would have been late and there were several cars in the ditches.
Since June, I have been taking many more photographs. Most of them with my point-and-shoot camera, and I am no expert. However, I have gone from the one who didn’t have a camera, or if I did, the batteries were dead to one who is always prepared and on the lookout for photos.
Last summer I received a tweet from Sheri Edwards inviting me to participate in the June, July, and August Project (#JJAProject) which was started by some fellow teachers. After that was over, a few of us continued with the Teachers’ Foto Friday (#TFotoFri) once a week group. Now, about 20 teachers and I are attempting the #T365Project, a picture a day in 2012.
But back to my snowy road trip. This was the first snowy day of the year and only the second of the whole winter! I was so taken with all the beauty, finding photographs everywhere I looked — from the quick sparks and snowy powder shooting up from the blade of the heavy snow plow in front of me to the gentle, intricate flakes falling and melting onto the warm windscreen of the van.
Today, instead of taking the pictures, I could only talk to myself about them.
Some more photos I missed…
Powdered sugar snowfall sprinkled evenly on the oxidized railroad bridge.
Hay bails lined up in formation with uniform helmets of snow.
Festive and frosted evergreens, missing during Christmas, now found interspersed among the bare deciduous trees.
Thin ice, now snow-covered, proved to me it was at least thick enough to hold the deer whose tracks ran down the middle of the river.
After a long day, we turned around and retraced our steps, the snow mostly gone after a sunny winter day. However, the images continued to come.
Reflective tape danced in the sun as the box cars and tankers rumbled by at a train crossing, train art graffiti occasionally broke the rhythm.
Golden grass, bent in the breeze, absorbed and reflected the late afternoon sunshine.
Without my camera, I discovered that my year-long photography adventure is making me a better observer, a better describer, and a better writer. As a literacy teacher, I couldn’t help but wonder if taking photos would have the same effect on students’ writing. What do you think?
Will a photography challenge help students observe, describe, and write?
When they find themselves unable to get a shot they long for, will they take pictures with words?