Thank Someone – Writing from the 2012 NWP Annual Meeting #nwpam12

This morning, Tanya Baker asked us to use the writing time we shared together ((Writing Project teachers always write together. Before we do anything. I mean anything. It’s important.)) during the plenary session to write a note of thanks to a writing, teaching, or other kind of mentor. Below is what I wrote. Not edited or polished, but worth sharing. I hope you’ll take five minutes soon to write about someone you’re thankful for. Better yet – send that writing to those folks.

Being thankful. I have so many people I could thank in these seven minutes of writing together, seven minutes of 1,000 writers writing in a quiet hotel ballroom. Throats clearing. Keyboards clacking. Error blips blipping from unsilenced machines.  But I’ll stick to these NWP people for right now.

I thank Cindy, who brought me to the party. And Richard Sterling, for helping to make it the place it was when I arrived. And Jim Gray, for wondering about doing learning differently, who built the ship in the first place. And Sharon Washington, who inherited a tricky gig, and seems to be rocking right on.

But Cindy again, who made me make the thing happen for other people, made me a part of the best experience of my professional life. She made me work to build those experiences for others. Which shaped everything that came after.

I thank Paul Oh for believing in a young geek and wondering if I might could help build other experiences. And Christina Cantrill, who helped me realize that the most frustrating questions were likely the best ones, the most important ones to be asking. I thank the NWP Tech Liaisons who showed me the ropes, who were taking their risks in their classrooms and sharing them in public. Another Paul. And Chris, and Gail and Patrick, and Andrea and Chad and Kevin and Peter and Meenoo and so many others who learned on purpose in public together. And then there was Troy, who took a chance on presenting with me at my first NWP Annual Meeting.

I thank all the program associates who made sure there were snacks, and rooms, and paper and sticky notes and crayons and scissors and whatever else I needed to do the work – both as participant and as facilitator. And coffee. They made sure there was always coffee. Nicole and Izzy and Kate and Bob and all the others. That’s essential, and probably no one ever says thank you. I thank whoever helped me juggle a cancelled flight into a 90 minute van ride from one airport to another to make sure that I arrived on time.

I thank the office peeps, folks like Tanya and Elyse, who continue to build exciting opportunities and keep inviting folks like me to participate in them. And people like Grant and those folks who published work I and others did.

I thank the NWP who, at a time when so many are closing doors and shutting out teachers and saying no, continue to say, “Yes. We’re here. You matter. Let’s do this thing. Together.”

But I have to thank Cindy again, because she brought me here. She extended the hand of the NWP on behalf gf the NWP, and changed my professional life, and the lives of all the teachers I’ve been privileged to work with.

So many other names that didn’t emerge in this text, but who make me better.

I still don’t know how to do this work well. But I know that I know how to get better at it. I know how to ask good questions, and struggle with them. I know that the struggle won’t end, but that it’s worth doing. And that’s the National Writing Project.

So, thanks, NWP. Let’s keep those invitations going. There’s plenty more to do, and plenty of room here to do it.

4 thoughts on “Thank Someone – Writing from the 2012 NWP Annual Meeting #nwpam12

  1. Angela says:

    Wow!!! It’s always wonderful to hear from you.

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