Awesome Year to Become a National Writing Project Teacher Leader

What’s New? I should be working on my June blog post, but recently Linked In told me that June was my 16 year anniversary with the National Writing Project. It was in June 2008 when I began my journey with the National Writing Project at my first summer institute. I was then and continue to be enamored of the goals that provide the foundation of this vibrant network of teacher leaders:

  • Teacher as Writer
  • Teacher as Reflective Practitioner
  • Teacher as Researcher
  • Teacher as Leader
  • and the value that is the heart and soul of all that we do: community!

NWP teacher leaders are not made. They are found, they are drawn to this work by the many lures of our community, but however they come they are encouraged to be the teacher leaders they were meant to be by these values. This work has not been easy, but wrapping it up this year will be even more difficult. I love this work and the people it has brought into my life. While directing a National Writing Project site has sometimes led to choices that were not in my personal or professional best interest, I am not leaving because I love this work any less but only because I am tired to my bones and that is a systemic problem. We shouldn’t have an education system that makes this work so grinding. I’m not leaving the work or the community any time soon, but stepping back from leadership is necessary. Despite all the challenges along the way, I have never been sorry I said yes to the invitation to join the National Writing Project community.

Original: My journey with the National Writing Project has been a joyous ride with too many notable moments and people to name, but one central theme has always been true: magic happens when humans write together.

For 49 years and counting (we are in the midst of celebrating our 50th anniversary), the National Writing Project has been focused on improving the teaching of writing through our leadership institutes and writing programs. My National Writing Project story began in 2008 with a Morehead Writing Project Summer Institute. I have written many blog posts about how that experience transformed my teaching, my writing, and my life. These blog posts (and transformations) are too numerous to recount and so I will focus on just three examples:

  • Teaching: My praxis is built around the writing workshop and my current practice developed over many iterations throughout my career but has always been heavily informed by the author’s agenda I learned during my first summer institute.
  • Writing: I was first introduced to the writing marathon during my first summer institute and since that time I have participated in an amazing array of marathons, in person and virtually, with writers of all ages. My love of the writing marathon is deep and it now exerts a powerful influence on my classroom practice as well as the core work of the Morehead Writing Project.
  • Life: I have been a writer since childhood and writing has always been a part of my professional life from newsroom to classroom, but often I have lost the joy I once found in writing and it is the National Writing Project that brought me back to that joy and helped me create the wild and wonderful community of writers that make writing so delicious for me today. The experiences and friendships discovered through writing project events (especially marathons) has made me who I am today.

As I head into my final years of teaching and what may be the last Summer Institute I lead, I want to celebrate with all my being the National Writing Project’s 50th anniversary, but even more than that I want to bring more teachers into this joyful work with me. I know that the National Writing Project and the Morehead Writing Project will be a part of my life even after I leave the classroom and hand off my site director mantle because I love this community so much.

I urge you to locate a National Writing Project site in your area and if one is not available then reach out to me as the Morehead Writing Project’s Summer Institute is 100% asynchronous and online. If you are located in Eastern Kentucky (adjacent to I-75 or east) then you are eligible for our Literacy Leadership program. Our 2023-2024 Literacy Leadership program included writing marathons in Fairview and Martin County, writing contests in Bath, Fleming, Mason, and Wolfe counties, and a writing buddy program in Montgomery County. We have even more exciting programs and opportunities for our teachers and their students in the 2024-2025 school year, but you need to be a Morehead Writing Project teacher leader to join in the fun.

How awesome would it be to become a National Writing Project teacher during our 50th anniversary year? How amazing would it be to become a Morehead Writing Project leader for the next chapter of our site’s story? Sign up today for the 2024 Morehead Writing Project Online Summer Institute (or a National Writing Project Summer Institute near you)!

Author: Deanna Mascle
#TeachingWriting and leading #NWP site @ Morehead State (KY): Passionate about #AuthenticWriting, #DeeperLearning, #PBL, #Ungrading, and #HyperDocs.

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