For the past three or four summers, I’ve had the pleasure of getting together with colleagues for our summer writing group, Teachers Who Write. This summer, respecting “The C,ovid”, as well everyone’s comfort level, we went virtual. Being that many of my colleagues would be home with their own children, Peter, Jess and I decided to extend the invitation to them as well.
Wren, Adi, Rose, Peter, Willow and Avery sat beside their moms at our first meeting. Peter, confidently shared after listening to “Big” Peter share. After hearing “Little” and “Big” Peter share, suddenly, Willow was ready to share. Hearing the voices of the children added innocent energy to our meeting. Their bravery was admirable. I left that first meeting with an unexpected mindset of possibilities for future meetings.
As I pulled up Zoom for our second meeting, I wondered what kids would show up? I felt a wide smile appear on my face when I saw, Wren, Adi, Willow, Hannah and Avery on my screen. There they were, notebooks and pens in hand, ready to listen, think and write.
The next 20ish minutes were spent making lists as a warm up followed by independent writing with invitations for all ages. We ended, as writers do, by sharing. The voices and stories of my colleagues and their kids began to fill me.
Jess M shared how her fence is “patrolled by Tucker”, Denia’s piece was about how she flipped through a book of pictures and she found herself “flipping through time”. After hearing her Mom share, Willow raised her hand. Denia read her daughter’s piece (see below). I watched as Willow listened to her Mom go public with her writing – “we just have a blow up pool but it is still deep enough to keep us cool”. I saw Wren’s brave hand rise. She was ready so share (see below). “My cousin Maverick was here, me and Mav like to play on the trampoline.” Hannah whispered to Kristen. She, too, was ready to hear her Peter shared about his garden and the structure that contains the garden. He shared “garden is thriving but the structure is showing its’ age”. He described some plants as “climbing, competing for the sun.”
I couldn’t help but be in awe to be part of this multiage group of writers. Here I was, not only learning more about my colleagues through their writing, but also getting to know their kids through their own writing!
With all that is going on in our communities, our country, and our world, I can’t help but be grounded by the time I get to spend with my colleagues and their kids. There is power in coming together to write, find stories, pull up memories, harvest ideas, and share. When people of all ages come together in the name of writing we can’t help but connect and be a little bit better.