My work for the National Writing Project is work. No question. There is a lot of tedious, stressful, logistical, brain-hurting, cat-herding work that comes with directing a National Writing Project site. But this is always balanced by what NWP gives me.
Teaching is stressful. Working in education is stressful. This has always been true and a particular challenge at this point in the school year (just ask Vicki Davis as she explains how to make it to the end of the year). Just today one of our Morehead Writing Project site leaders referred to our site as a refuge. For me, those hours and days when I can forget the stress and tedium and just focus on writing and writers are definitely a much-needed respite that helps me maintain my tenuous hold on sanity. I know this is true of others as well.
The leadership of the Morehead Writing Project is dedicated to making our programs an oasis for the educators and writers we work with and for. There is a great deal of unpleasantness in education today – for teachers and students – and we all need respite. Far too much emphasis on testing and too little time for learning let alone creativity and play. Our goal has always been to foster the growth and development of our teachers and writers by focusing on writing and the teaching of writing, but now, in these troubled times, our goal is to offer respite.
For much of my service to the National Writing Project, I have felt that this work has offered me sanctuary and protection from the uncertainties and vagaries of academic life. As a site director, I try to extend that protection to the teachers I work with celebrating their leadership and contribution in hopes that their administration will recognize them for their education rock star status.
Now, when I am feeling battered and bruised by my own administration, I am finding solace in my writing project work. Tomorrow I will spend the day with 100 writers. We will share our passion for writing, we will explore our world, and we will slam some awesome poetry. I need this day and I need a lawful outlet for my anger.
Which takes me to the question I opened with: where do you find refuge? I invite you to find solace with the Morehead Writing Project in our Spring Writing Retreat on April 26 or during our Online Summer Institute (in June). Learn more about our spring and summer events on our Morehead Writing Project web site and stay tuned for our Fall Writing Retreat and Writing Eastern Kentucky Conference.