For the past 2 years I have been, predominantly, out of the classroom. However, in the past 6 months, I have been full time (long term sub) teaching in Flagstaff, AZ. Additionally, I teach (occasionally) online for the University of MN and I’ve been writing professional development curriculum modules for a district. Finally, I’ve started a project with the SLA teachers to bring their curriculum to the web in a searchable and meaningful way. To say that I work in curriculum would be an understatement. My work stretches from grade 6-inservice teachers. It is a range that, at times, feels gigantic. It is hard for me to prep for more than two of those things on any given night, as if I can’t seem to spin up 7th grade lessons AND teacher PD modules at the same time.
So, here’s the thing I’ve been realizing and this is not incredibly surprising, but it struck me about why some of this work comes easier to me. Right now, I can write the heck out of some middle school units and projects, but the PD modules are not going well. I’ve been asked to write up some articles about teaching and learning and I feel like I could crank that out right now, whereas 8 months ago I would have said no. The difference in all of this for me is audience. I can easily write middle school curriculum right now, because I am teaching middle schoolers. I can write about teaching, meaningfully, because I am teaching. I am having trouble with the PD module work because I am seriously disconnected from my audience.
I always try to use these moments of revelation (which I realize isn’t earth shattering, but right now is very obvious and present) and think about the students. I imagine that this is what the students feel like when they are asked to create without an audience in mind. But to just *do* the work, because. I feel it every time I sit down to try and write the PD modules. I know generally who I am writing for, but I have no real connection to that community, I feel out of sync with their verbiage, flow and lingo.
My mind wants to create for the space where I have a connection. I need to always keep that thought handy when I work with the students and ask them to create… finding the connection to the work and the audience matters.