Thursday, October 23, 2014

I Shouldn't Be Blogging

I shouldn't be blogging.

I should be grading papers.
I should be reading students' blog posts.
I should be sending post-conference follow-up emails to parents.
I should be watching training videos for my new school laptop.
I should be deconstructing standards and digging into resources.
I should be reading so I have something to blog about.
I should be doing amazing things in my classroom so I have something to blog about.
I should be reading the blogs of our faithful blog readers.
I should be cleaning the house.

Okay. That helped. It always does. Best One Little Word ever.

Remember at the end of last summer, when we went to Vermont on a fly fishing trip...and didn't catch any fish? And how I vowed to "catch" a "trout" every day of the school year so that no matter what kind of picture the high stakes testing paints of my students, I will be able to look back on a year full of great moments of learning and joy?

I've got a "creel" full of fish.

We're 40+ days into the school year, and in my special little purple Moleskine I have 40+ "trout." Some days when I look back, they make me laugh, or swell up with pride. Some days I get a little teary.

At the exhaustion end of Parent Conference Night, a dad told about organizing his 30th high school class reunion, and how much it meant to him and the others who attended that some of their elementary school teachers attended. Even their first grade teacher was there. "You are making a difference in these students' lives, you know," he said. "You have no idea right now how the seeds you plant will turn out, but you are planting seeds for the future."

The next day, I got an email from a student who was in one of my looping classes 10 years ago. I helped to get her on an IEP back then. She's a junior in college now and she wanted to come interview me for one of her classes. She just switched her major. To education.

All the "I shoulds" will have to wait. I have some seeds to plant. I have some fish to catch.


  1. You absolutely should be blogging because some of us, who are not nearly as brilliant (but probably much crazier) need to hear your voice, pretty much every day. Thanks so much for this important reminder! I'm drowning in "I should's." Think I need to go buy a notebook today!

  2. Love, love, love. Thanks for blogging today. As you know, I need this.

  3. So great! Thank you!

  4. Mary Lee--love love love this post and so needed your inspiring words today. You are a gift to our profession.

  5. Thanks for making me teary before my morning meeting. Thank you for being a teacher.

  6. When a parent tells you, "You are making a difference in these students' lives, you know," all the exhaustion, frustration, and otherwise unpleasant elements in a teacher's daily grind FLY out the window. A comment like that charges our batteries and makes it all worth it.
    Bravo, Mary Lee! See you at NCTE!

  7. You ARE making a difference, Mary Lee! And not just in the classroom. Thank you for these lovely words. xo

  8. Love this post. Knew I had to read it since I shouldn't be reading blog posts this am . . . I should be in the garage sorting through all those boxes I brought home when I retired in June. Kind words from students and parents are the diamonds we treasure.

  9. Amen.
    Aren't these the days that make it all worth it?

  10. This is what our profession is all about - thank you for writing, thank you for sharing.

  11. Mary Lee,

    Thanks for sharing your "shouldn't" list...I relate, and I'm sure so many others do, too.

    I caught up on my blog last night, and in case you haven't looked there lately, thought you would like this little recent gem-- I think it's "trout" related/worthy : ) Looking forward to hearing more about your prize-winning catches.

    Oh--And "Breathe" is a OLW that helps me often.

    Hope you like this picture--


  12. This is fabulous! I would love to be a student in one of your classes Mary Lee.

  13. You were blogging to help your readers know we are doing what is right and trying our best is all we can do each day because the big picture does work out. I just love the story from your parent teacher conferences, how kind to have a parent realize all you do!

  14. Love this, Mary Lee. Thank you for making my not-so-great week get a lot better!

  15. Sometimes I get so busy with "shoulds" there is no time for what I really want to do! Your poem reminds me to make more room for the want tos!

  16. Your words are like a soft quilt wrapped around my soul. Thank you for writing.

  17. Trout by trout, seed by seed, minnow by minnow--you should be blogging because you are a voice for our teaching art, and for your own vision. And somehow your oak tree is not sad (like mine feel), even in the dark, but a work of breeze's art.

  18. Thanks for that. I hope that I too will be catching a trout each day and taking the time to breathe. :)

  19. Wow, what a nice smile you just put on my face.


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