Celebrate in the Mess

Instructional Writing Coach: This is my job title. It doesn’t matter if you are in the field of education or not, there isn’t a single person who will light up with recognition and understanding when they hear what I do for a living. In a nutshell, I support teachers as they teach young writers.

(I much prefer the job title of: Writer. Speaker. Teacher. Soul-Nourisher. Encourager. Artist. But that it is another story.)

The work of an instructional coach is messy. Add in the fact that my work focuses on teaching writers and it gets really messy. Let’s face it, writing is not nearly as clear-cut as math, nor is writing as emphasized as reading. Some days I might feel a little bit like the red-headed-step-child.

Today might be one of those days. I’m living in a mess of needs and misunderstandings and compromise. I’m not even sure what direction to step, let alone what the next step actually is. I might have said this to my curriculum director, who happens to be my boss.

She mentioned that she is reading Celebrating Writers. (It’s not due to release for a few weeks, but the entire text is online at Stenhouse.) “Did you read the dedication?” I asked.

She smiled, “I did. Thank you.”

Joy said, “Although you probably don’t feel like celebrating much lately.”

I shrugged. “I do anyway.

This job isn’t ever going to be easy. If I wait to celebrate until I feel like I have it all together, I’m going to be waiting for a long time and life will be drab. Celebration isn’t about waiting until everything is just right, rather celebration is about finding joy right now.

This is true for student writers and teachers and principals and instructional coaches. Actually, I’m beginning to believe it is true for anyone in any stage of life. Yet it is so easy to swipe it away, believing celebration is just fluff.

My friends at The Literacy Connection (#litconn13 — check out the Tweets from our day together) helped me to see the power of this message and nudged me to consider creating a space for us to celebrate together. I’m cooking up a little something and am looking forward to sharing it with you tomorrow. Get ready to celebrate!

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  1. OOooo! I can't wait to see what you are cooking. I agree, celebrating the now is much more enjoyable. Waiting just means more waiting because nothing is ever perfect.

  2. Thank you for sharing this post. Today was a day …. wow! I teach a Young 5's class, and YOUNG they are. After writing workshop they had rest time, for them or me I'm not sure. But as crazy as the process is, everyone had a story.

  3. OOOhhh. I perked up with understanding. I am almost the same kind of coach. I am a HS Instructional Literacy Coach, and I work in the curriculum department for my curriculum manager and am itinerant to all of our six high schools. I work with teachers of literacy, which would be reading and writing. And, I love my job sooo much. Year nine in this role. I've been reading you for like a day and a half. I am connected with Choice Literacy, and read your blog there this week. Keep up the good work, lady!

  4. Great post, Ruth! Messy is exactly the right word for my work right now. I'm trying hard to keep a positive attitude, but it's a challenge. Can't wait to hear about your surprise!