Reflections on my demonstration

I need to reflect on my demonstration before I forget.  First of all, yes, I was definitely nervous.  I had worst-case scenario thoughts about a silent room, awkward silences during the discussion portion, or just complete disinterest.  However, I was wrong.  I actually thoroughly enjoyed giving the presentation and could feel the energy in the room.  It felt smooth, like people were getting into the same thought processes I went through as I thought about place and time and life stories.  I guess the questions about how to write about the mundane and getting students to realize how interesting every small moment in their lives can be have been brewing in my mind for a couple of years now.  That, coupled with the TCKs I’ve been meeting (and me being one) plus the idea of bringing stories to life through video and podcasting just added more possibilities to what could be done with life stories.  I wish I could have gathered everyone’s stories, like I would in my classroom.  I am thinking of ways I could really use all these ideas with the TCKs I personally know.  We have retreats and conferences and one is coming up this November.  I am thinking of making a video about the TCKs that I personally know and their own life stories.  There is something really validating and “identity-forming” about sharing one’s life stories.

Also, I’m realizing there’s a big difference between “telling” someone, no matter how close a friend, about your life versus writing about it with the intention of having someone read it.  I know of TCKs  who journal, but I think its powerful when there’s the possibility that someone will read our stories.  Fletcher is right.  We write more powerfully about subjects that matter to us.  For the classroom, I think that’s why Lucy Calkins made some great decisions when she brought in personal narratives as a genre of writing to teach.  Three years after I tried out her curriculum in the classroom, I feel like I am finally “getting” her.

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2 Responses to “Reflections on my demonstration”

  1. Esther,

    Your demo was phenomenal for so many reasons. I really liked the process that you set up and led us through, to narrow down our subject matter to something meaningful, manageable and very grounded in a particular PLACE and TIME. I think this is a technique that can work really well with people of all ages, whether young students who have lived all their lives in one “place” or fellow TCKs who have such amazing trajectories to share. What stays in my mind above all is how you got all of us thinking about writing, talking about writing and then very quickly writing — how focused the room was, and how none of us wanted to stop. That kind of engagement among students, even the most willing, does not happen without the thoughtful guidance of a talented teacher, which you obviously are. Thank you for all the effort you put into preparing this superb demo. I am going to return to the writing I began in your demo the first chance I have.

    Janet

  2. Ester,
    Your demo was fabulous. Place is such a fabulous starting point for writing – and it is so interesting to see how quickly it leads us to write about so many other powerful topics. I thought your process for narrowing was also very cool – and the important reminder that place does not need to be a large location. Small place in our lives are just as important – if not more important sometimes.

    While working internationally I became particularly interested in TCKs, and it is so interesting to hear about how your experiences have shaped you. When we talked later you mentioned that I might also consider myself a TCK. I really appreciated this comment. Although as a child I only lived in England, in the last twelve years I’ve moved so much in many ways I feel like a TCK.

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