One Sunflower

when you’re on a journey, it’s a good idea to check the map occasionally….

on December 11, 2012

So, Wednesday, December 5th was “trip-check” day – if I’m going to stick with that metaphor!   I headed off to the staff work session with a notebook full of data I’ve collected over the semester and notes written to prepare for this meeting.  I felt like I knew where I was going – just like I stated in my last entrythe taxi arrived, I was on my way…. when… 

flat tire
empty gas tank
no $$
lost my wallet

pick your nightmare
it happened

journey derailed…..

The meeting opened with one of our fearless teacher-leaders stepping up to the projector, walking us through her own cycle of inquiry work demonstrating the process we were to use that day.  Her model was clear, her work deliberate and comprehensible.  But when it came time for me to do the same work I stumbled, fumbled, fell…as I wrote about on Wake Up and Write.

In fact, when the break came, I cried.  I stood in my classroom with a fist full of tissues and cried.  I knew I’d been doing good work and I knew my efforts were tied to my goal but I couldn’t figure out how to organize the evidence to substantiate what my gut was telling me.  I went back to the meeting, decided to just start writing everything I knew and trust that the process would right itself if I just persevered.

The pressure is on.  As a staff, we are all to present our cycles of inquiry with supporting data, and to name our next-step goals to each other on January 2nd.  Luckily this meeting was just a warm up, a day to check equipment, make sure there weren’t any holes in the tent, worn straps on the back pack, inadequate supplies of bug repellent.

Oh – and to check maps.

My map!  Of course.  I pulled out my map, (the work on my cycle I had been working on since the beginning of the year,) and checked to make sure I remembered where I was headed in the first place.

This is the process I should have begun with last Wednesday.  I should have gone back and reviewed more carefully the question I named for myself to explore in my cycle of inquiry this year:  I want to explore and learn more about developing effective verbal and visual tools to support my youngest students and those with the least amount of English as they learn the use of drawings to tell stories. And I wanted to increase opportunities for them to demonstrate their understanding.

Once I reflected on my question again and used it to guide my review of the data I have collected, the process was easier, and as illuminating as I had hoped it would be.  My gut was right but I needed the evidence to be right too.  I looked over photos, anecdotal records, videos, assessment scores – yup, check.  Back on track….

Sunday night
full gas tank
$$ in my wallet
patched equipment

I’m on a new flight headed to the tarmac once again.  And this time my map is in my front pocket!

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3 responses to “when you’re on a journey, it’s a good idea to check the map occasionally….

  1. gigi2pnw says:

    Love this. It seems that it’s only when we run out of gas that we stop long enough to check the map. Until then we don’t even notice we’re driving in circles and not actually getting anywhere. Here’s to empty gas tanks!

  2. It seems that for me, when I am SO sure of what I am doing and what I believe, this same thing happens to me. But it gives me the “opportunity” to assess all the pieces and discover what’s real as opposed to what’s perceived. I’ll use this as a reminder to check my own map, too. Hope all goes well with your meeting tomorrow. I know your next steps will be “right on track.”

  3. What a great metaphor! I hope your meeting went well.

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