One of my favorite Bible verses comes from Isaiah: “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31). I’m sure that many of you feel the same. I think it describes teachers at times. I feel that I am running all the time and that I do get weary and faint after one of those particularly long weeks when there are stretches of bad weather outside and loads of middle school drama on the inside. And yet, there are the days when I feel like I am soaring and I have the boundless energy of my sixth and seventh graders (who are bouncing off the walls and driving all the adults in their lives crazy). It’s those days that I go home from school feeling as if I am soaring with the eagles.
And then there is the fact that the school mascot is the eagle.
When I tried to come up with a name for this blog, I did think about what I wanted my students to be able to do when they left the confines of room M7 and moved into the upper school to other English teachers and beyond to college and work or the military. I want my students to soar with confidence that they could do anything that they put their minds to. I want them to be confident readers and writers and communicators (hence the “ELA” at the end of the title). I want them to be leaders. I want them to be independent. I want them to be critical thinkers.
But now comes the tricky part. How do I teach them to be all of these things? How do I teach them to be the kind of reader and writer I envision? How do I convince them that they are already these things?
It’s those questions, in part, that will drive my writing in this blog throughout this year. I want to soar on those wings of eagles with my students and enjoy the freedom that knowledge and critical thinking and confidence can give.
I hope you will join me this year and share your stories of soaring as well as the stories of those times you could not get off the ground. Together, I hope this blog will encourage you and give you wings.
I will leave you with a favorite hymn: