This weekend I attended the National Council of Teachers of English National Convention. If you’re not familiar with this event, let me put you in the moment: women and men with large coffees and larger tote bags descend on a city to revel in all forms of book nerd festivities. Authors sign novels, teachers present lessons, strangers become friends, and amid all this there is a shared love – for children, for teaching, for the power of words. I have always looked forward to it because there are few places I go where I’m surrounded by so many like-minded people at once.
This year’s trip, however, opened my eyes to something that has been nagging at the back of my mind for years. To quote a dear friend, I feel like “a bit of a fraud”. As much as believe in the power of words, as much as I advocate for my students to find a voice, I have remained, well, silent. I’ve been creating NOTHING. I’ve been writing NOTHING. And it’s not that I’ve had nothing to say. My problem is much more embarrassing, and it’s two-fold. 1. I haven’t been sure HOW to start writing for an audience. 2. I’m not sure I can withstand the judgment of my readers.
I decided this weekend that I’m done hiding behind both excuses. I’m just going to start with love – love for my calling and my voice. In return, I’m going to ask a favor of you, dear reader. If ever you feel the need to disagree with me, do the same: start with love. In the months to come, I hope to share the things I love and teach and write here. Maybe you’ll stop in from time to time as I continue on this journey. Until the next time, read a good book and start with love.