I would be considered a baby in the National Writing Project family as I participated in the summer institute less than a year ago. It is difficult to put into words what it has meant to be me to be part of this network of teachers across the United States.
The Summer Institute was the best professional development I have received as a teacher. During the institute, along with 21 other participants, I experience what it is like to be asked to write, read and respond to writing in a meaningful way. Our cohort of K-16 teachers bonded over food, stories and challenges we face as we look to improve our classroom practice. During this summer, I found my voice as a writer and have since tried to help my students’ find their own through our class blog. In some ways, I have tried to take the framework of NWP built on community of readers and writers and create a similar experience for my students this year.
The summer institute helped me to see my students and me as writers. The way we talk about reading and writing in our class feels different this year because we are not playing “school” bur rather telling our stories – stories that have shamed us and stories that have saved us.
I have made many connections through NWP that I hope last a lifetime. I have just found this nationwide community of readers and writers and I am not ready for this relationship to be over. National writing project needs to be funded because there are thousands of teachers like me who need a home and a place to grow.