Wednesday, March 1, 2023

A Teacher Friend Who Challenges Me: SOLSC Day 1

O'dark thirty this morning found me on FaceTime with one of my besties from home. Beth, who blogs at Seeking Six, and I have shared twenty-years of firsts and challenges together. 

We met in 1995. I can't remember the class or the exact moment or the when or the what we were doing. Both full-time beginning teachers, we were in a doctoral cohort together at the University of Central Florida. In the summer of 1996 we started writing side by side. 

That summer, we aspired to write more and to learn more about teaching writing from a professor who who would become one of our sheroes.  Adolescent literacy expert, Dr. Janet Allen taught high school English for decades in Maine before winning a Milken award for her work, getting her doctorate and moving to Florida to teach at UCF. Janet was our advisor and she led the summer's National Writing Project institute in 1996.  Beth and I enrolled. We supported one another through that month of writing: laughing and crying with other teacher writers over drafts and demo lessons.

As teachers, we supported also supported each other through our first National Board Certification, through changing state standards, through implementing PLCs and through pioneering digital spaces. 

We Ninged. We Tweeted. We Moodled. We Streamed. We EdCamped.  We challenged ourselves as writers by doing our first Slice of Life Story Challenge together in 2012.  How has it been that long? 

So, this morning, a world away,  I'm settling into my journal at a marble dining room table, air con cranked up, the stone table top cold and the FaceTime rings. 

"Hey, friend," she says on her ride home from school.

We chit chat. I get an update on her daughter and she on my son. We talk school. We talk exercise. We talk. We laugh. We catch up. Just before we hang up, she inserts, "Hey, are you slicing this year?!"

"Oh yes! Yes! Dang it! I've been thinking about it. How did I miss ...." 

"Today is March 1st--it starts today! Well.... here it's today."

"And it's March 1st until noon in Singapore if I'm posting back to the US, right?"

"Yep! Do it. Let's do it."

"I'm in." 

And off we go. This is my sixth and final year in Singapore. Writing  bridges that distance and I'm looking forward to seeing what the month will bring. 

I know there will be moments of writer's block and moments of runaway writing and moments of "shitty first drafts" to use Anne Lamott's words here. I  know the writing will be worth it.  Worth the time. Worth the challenge. Worth the effort. Worth the connections. 

Worth it. 

Today is day 1 of 31 of the Slice of the annual Life Story Challenge hosted
by the terrific team at Two Writing Teachers.


  1. Welcome back to SOLSC. I hope you'll be giving us some slices of life in Singapore.

    1. Thank you! I will definitely share a few slices of Singapore.

  2. Oh, to be one of Janet Allen's students! To slice with a life-long friend! To have March 1 come again! I loved getting to know you in just a quick slice of your day, and here's to the rest of the month. Looking forward to hearing about your far-away teaching life.

  3. Love reading of your connections with Beth and your shero, Janet Allen. What fun. But the best part and the words going into my quote book are these from the end of your post: "I know the writing will be worth it. Worth the time. Worth the challenge. Worth the effort. Worth the connections. Worth it."

  4. Thanks, Ramona, glad to know those lines worked how I wanted them to.

  5. Lucky you to have a friend who nudges you to write and cheers along the way. I agree that no matter the difficulties, the monthly writing is worth all of the things you listed. Happy Slicing!

  6. Yay!!! So glad to "see" you! I loved reading about your connection with Beth - I remember when you taught together, but I didn't know how long or how deeply you were connected. How special! I love that she got you going this year just in time! <3