Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My new and now dear friend, Dr. Joseph McCaleb, posted this prompt to the National Writing Project's iAnthology. I'm posting my response to the prompt here and on the Ning. I'm sharing his prompt here because I think it's worthy for all of us think about as we get "back in the saddle":

Joseph McCaleb, Director of the University of Maryland Writing Project, a good friend, and our guest this week offers a perfect prompt for a fresh school year.
At the dawn of a new school year, educators face many challenges and potential distractions.  One important act of a professional leader is to focus on a worthy target.  
In setting that focus, consider these questions, as well as ones that come out of your own heart and mind.  Respond to the one that calls your name.
Where is the special window of opportunity for me? 
What opening can I see where my gift, my expertise, my passion can best be directed? 
What’s the next step in moving into this opening? 
What support might I request from NWP or my local site?
 Is there a friend who helps me articulate the expression of this enactment?  What would a dialog with him or her say?

The word "focus" sticks out to me. Probably because I feel so unfocused. I feel unfocused because I have too many projects going on. This has been going on for so long it's beginning to feel normal, and I wonder what it feels like to focus intently on one thing. I wonder what I could accomplish if I thought about one thing deeply. Instead, I accomplish a lot, but I don't get to spend the time I want--the thinking time, the focus--that is necessary. Since I lack focus, I look at the next question and think that it's hard for me to see the opening. I'm not exactly sure what my passion is. Actually, I think my passion is helping teachers to see how much they have to share. As I look at the next questions, I feel stuck here yet again. It's hard for me to see this path. Right now, as I organize a study of high school writing in a large district, I know that I need help from my local site. Desperately. I think asking for their help will help with continuity within our site. 

I have a friend who helps me articulate the expression of this enactment. He would say, "You can do this. Look at what we've accomplished." We take turns providing these pep talks, and I appreciate it. He indicated the other day that I seemed a bit down. I didn't realize that I was "down on my self." I was glad he told me, and I think it's just a phase. I do worry that this phase of feeling unfocused will become more than that. Can lack of focus turn into burnout? Is lack of focus the first step on the road to burnout? 

Thinking I don't want to post this. Not really sure what I said. But, I would write anything for Joseph McCaleb. 

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