Back in the Saddle

When I started blogging again over two years ago, I promised myself to never again write a “meta-blog” about why I am or am not writing.  I’ll forgive myself this one.

I simply lost rhythm over the summer.  It’s a good reminder that, for me at least, blogging is a good habit.  Like so many good habits (exercise, healthy eating, maintaining relationships) it takes work to keep up, but is easy to break.  Here’s hoping just forcing myself to sit and write was the hardest step, and I’ll be back in rhythm soon.

There’s a lot of stuff I meant to write about over the summer but never did, so in the interest of giving myself a clean slate to start the year with, I’m just going to share some small notes here.

  • I had two wonderful PD experiences this summer.  I learned a ton at the “Constitution 3.0” Gilder Lehrman seminar with Jeff Rosen in DC, and left with a lot of ideas I’ll use in my classroom this fall.  I then immediately went to Swarthmore for another long weekend on Teacher Leadership with CETE.  The group of 18 teachers feels like home now, and I’m thrilled that one of them moved from Philly to be one of Harvest’s founding English teacher.  It was another nourishing and replenishing experience.
  • I’m about 800 pages into Robert Caro’s The Power Broker, on Robert Moses (the bad one).  A friend and I pledged to finish it by this weekend at the beginning of the summer, but we’re now aiming for October.  It’s an incredible book that has lots of lessons for those of us in public service.  Highly recommended, and I hope to write more when I finish.
  • I never finished writing about all the education books I read last spring.  I still hope I will, but just in case, two huge overwhelming recommendations: Making Learning Whole by David Perkins and Making Thinking Visible out of Harvard’s Project Zero.  Both will greatly inform my teaching this year.
  • For the first time in my life, I took a two-week vacation, traveling with different friends and my wife to Berlin, Paris, and London.  I have never felt the weight of history so much as I did in Berlin, but not how I expected to.  The weight of the Wall and separation weighed far more heavily on my experience there than the Holocaust.  The highlight of the trip though, was definitely my first Premiere League game in London.  Much fun!
  • Obviously, the most absent writing here was about starting the new school.  I actually have written a ton about it, but haven’t decided what to do with the writing yet.  It will be public at some point, in some form.  We just finished two weeks with the entire staff, and we’re ready for our first class of students to arrive for Orientation tomorrow, and the first day of Harvest Collegiate on Thursday.  Our school has been blessed with an abundance of riches, most importantly being the incredible staff of educators and professionals I’ll get to work with this year.  It’s a truly remarkable group.
  • One of my goals for the year is to be easier on myself and those around me.  Partly related to that, I’m not setting concrete goals for myself, including writing weekly.  The work of a new school is too unpredictable for that, so I know I’ll need to put many things I’ve done the past few years related to education on the back burner if I’m going to maintain any semblance of work/life balance.  Thanks to everyone who reads and comments, and I’ll do my best to share what is certain to be a year filled with plenty to write about.
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One thought on “Back in the Saddle

  1. The Power Broker! Heh – I tried to get through it years ago (back when I was a corporate litigator and had more free, or at least more flexible, time); each chapter seemed to sum up for me as, “He got even more greedy and more venal!”; never finished it; lent to husband, who now has a catch phrase about “blame Robert Moses”; and like to put it on my bookshelf next to Jane Jacobs’ “Death and Life of Great American Cities.”

    Wishing you all the best with the new school.

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