All day long, it was a nagging, but exhilarating feeling and then, suddenly an unusual word popped into my head…rusty. That’s how I felt – rusty with my thinking just a few days ago. I had been feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and underappreciated before we left for the conference. This energy was being transferred to my students. It was the perfect day to get away, last week Wednesday. We slipped out just before the students were leaving for the day and it felt good to pull away, the school memories floating farther and farther away.
Just a few days ago, I returned from that writing conference with four colleagues. I returned with four renewed and new friendships. We cried, told stories, and more importantly laughed. Today I felt the energy after a return from an amazing writing conference, my students were feeling the same excitement with our renewed writing workshop time in the classroom, but as I sit down to write for a few quiet moments, it was almost as if I was the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. My brain seemed slow and my hands did feel timid to start thinking and creating words on a page. What did they do to the Tin Man or what about that old door that creaks every time you open it, or my mom’s joints after a painful day of sitting on a cold wintery day? Lubrication, practice, a change in viewpoint. That is what I needed literally for my writing to take off again, and figuratively with my career. As students, parents, teachers, we all feel rusty at times in our lives.
When I was six, I left my bike out over a six week period in the dead of winter. It was leaned up against dad’s machine shed behind the house. When the first few warm days of spring came along, it had those pesky little brown spots. I ran into to tell my mom and she tried to explain the science behind it. I didn’t care, I just wanted my bike to look normal again. A few little wipes and it started to look new again. As I think about my 47 year old self and my teaching career,not just my time to write, the word rusty seems to fit. I need someone to lubricate (an oil of sorts) to rejuvenate my thinking and give me back that renewed energy that somehow went away over the past few weeks. You know all the deadlines, paperwork, meetings that seem to cover up some of those enjoyable teaching moments. Well, I got that magic oil while listening to some amazing educators at the Write to Learn conference. Now as I sit here and start to get back in the groove of writing, clearing any rust from my mind, body, and spirit.