Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Reinventing Self: We're All Works in Progress #SOLTuesday

Slice of Life happens every Tuesday and is sponsored by the fabulous team at Two Writing Teachers. Check out other slices here. 

7:33 a.m.

In less than half an hour, I'll find myself in an online interview for contract work with a startup in Boston. Zinkerz, the company with whom I'm interviewing, develops educational apps and seeks to capitalize on gamification.  If hired I'd work on content for an AP English app.  

That I have this interview this morning is something I could never have foreseen when I began teaching in 1981. Such is the nature of self-reinvention. 

How we teachers reinvent ourselves defines the way I view longevity in teaching and reflects the name I chose for this blog. 

In mid May, I had a plan for this summer: Join Teachers Write, work on the professional book(s) I've outlined the past few years, write an article about using children's picture books to teach seniors research, go on vacation with family, read and read some more, do home improvement projects, including purging my closet and home office of stuff. 

But my professional life took a sharp turn a week before school ended, so my plans changed. I'm still going on vacation with family, but I'm also preparing to teach AP English Literature and Composition next fall and attending an AP workshop in San Diego later this month. If all goes well in my interview, I may find myself on yet another new educational venture. 

Who would have thunk? Certainly not I. 

Professionally, I've had to reinvent myself many times to sustain a career that has lasted over thirty years. I spent over a decade in an education desert, metaphorically speaking. During that time, I never knew when I'd feel bludgeoned yet again by a bad boss. I worked hard to persevere, to overcome, to reinvent myself during that time. I applied to state and national programs that accepted me and validated both my professional and personal self. Of course, the Folger Shakespeare Library, as I've often written, is the most important among these. I earned NBPTS certification, I earned a MA degree. 

Opportunities to reinvent myself fed my soul with mana, the collegiality and validation necessary for teachers. 

8:55 a.m.

I just finished my interview with Sam and Eden at Zinkerz. Now I wait. Regardless of the outcome, I'm using this opportunity to think about gaming and learning in my classroom and the ways I can continue reinventing myself and the ways I guide student learning. 

I am, after all, a work in progress, and from time to time I need to shed the old teacher skin to make way for the new. 
Game on!


  1. Love your positive outlook on the necessity of reinventing ourselves as educators. Sounds like an intriguing opportunity for your summer. I hope you get to this article sometime, "using children's picture books to teach seniors research" as I think it would be an engaging resource.

    1. Thanks. The children's book research will be part of an NCTE15 presentation, but I'm not sure which one yet. I have three sessions (unless there's a scheduling conflict). I do want to get the project written up in an article w/ documentation to support the idea.

  2. Education is not a static career. There is always something new happening in research. Teachers must change with the times but too often many close their door and teach exactly the same every year. What an exciting opportunity on your horizon! Even if you don't get that job, your mind is spinning with possibilities. Good luck!

  3. How exciting was that interview? I want to hear more about it and about the work they are doing at Zinkerz. Reinventing ourselves is learning and staying connected to what's current and what kindles our passions. You are such a role model for living the professional life, Glenda!

  4. As a newer teacher I'm inspired by your attitude. I aspire to reinvent my own self as I navigate this rocky road of a career in education. Thanks for sharing and good luck with this opportunity!

    1. Thank you, Lori. Please feel free to reach out via email, etc. if there is anything I can do to support you in these early years. They are tough.

  5. Glenda, I always appreciate your feedback so much. I have to say, I love your writing even more! You are so right about having to adapt in our career! We are trying something new with our curriculum next year. I am a little worried, a little scared and unsure, but we have to make changes to give our students the best. It's hard to change and keep changing, but so important. Great post.

  6. You are such an inspiring teacher, Glenda not only to your students but also to us other teachers. I think that as educators we have a craving within us to also be learning along with our students and although sometimes it is hard to always be one step ahead I think secretly we relish the challenge! All the best in your summer pursuits - they sound wonderful and are sure to bring benefits to many :) Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace