I thought I was excited and inspired by Nancy Frey.
And I was.
But Kelly Gallagher made my head spin.
I loved his attitude, his presentation style, and his content.
Getting all three in one is almost impossible.
The most important part for me is how affirming such presentations can be.
My knowledge of how to handle all the logistics of teaching reading and writing is distressingly incomplete.
I know only enough to know what I don't know.
Every year, I learn a little more, but as a teacher, I will always feel inadequately educated.
Even when I'm not.
My implementation is plenty flawed.
It is easier to pinpoint my mistakes and miscues, than my successes.
Reflection is like that: inherently self-critical.
Finding the positives when they aren't obvious is hard work.
On the other hand...
My priorities, my thinking, my passions...those align.
These days, most of my colleagues and I have a pretty similar world view on our subject area.
It hasn't always been that way.
I am used to being the minority...or my mindset is scarred by those experiences at least.
Any time research or famous people or gurus or regular people or other teachers affirm my beliefs about teaching and learning, it feels good, really good, validating even.
We live in a world where teachers are rarely treated as competent professionals.
Even though I rarely encounter such an attitude in my immediate work environment, it is still in the air.
And it takes its toll.
So validation is important.
Validation combined with new learning and strategies is amazeballs.
Today, I learned a little bit more about why what I believe makes sense.
I learned a lot about how.
In fact, I feel like Kelly literally filled in the holes in the way I taught NaNoWriMo.
He conceptualized volume and layers of modeling in a way showed me where I went wrong, why, and how to fix it.
I mean, I knew where I went wrong...
I didn't know why for sure, and I definitely wasn't sure how to fix it.
Now, I have a completely different idea for laying out the planning stages more effectively next time.
Maybe I can even use some of it to lay out our deep revision more effectively.
No matter what, I walked away inspired.
I walked out of that room feeling a little more competent, a little more inspired, a little more valued.
None of that will make me a better teacher.
Those feelings, though, they will help me put new ideas into practice.
It is emotion that is the basis of learning, after all.
Feeling good (safe, inspired, competent etc.) is the essence of good teaching for students and for teachers.
Kelly Gallagher has a way of making the room feel good, even as he challenges our existing practices.
This is a talent, a gift, a hard-won skill maybe.
And it is a good thing for sure.