Yesterday was the last day of the Gateway Writing Project's Summer Institute. The Summer Institute (SI) is a five-week, four-day-a-week class (6 hours a day) for teachers.
This was a graduate class I took way back in 2001, and for the last two years, I've been co-teaching it. It's past pinch-me-is-this-for-real? Working with kids during the school year and with teachers during the summer is a dream come true.
Spending 120 hours together--spread out over a month--is delightful when the teachers are invested and fun and talented. But when they're over the top with talent and when the group becomes such a community that incredible wounds are shared and jokes become long-running and explosive... well, when it's over, it's sad (and a bit bitter).
We celebrated by going out to lunch together yesterday, and wrote round-robin limericks. The plan was to read them aloud in the restaurant, but our table was so long, we would have had to shout them, and after seeing the turns most of the limericks took, we wisely decided to read them on the sidewalk outside of the restaurant. (Risque' is almost a rule when it comes to limericks--or at least humor that leans toward crude.)
The sweet part is one of the teachers (I'm hoping... and if one of them does not, I've promised that I will do the deed) will send out an email about starting a writing critique group... so they can keep the momentum going. In the past five weeks, I mentioned my writing critique group several times as we talked about the power of our colleagues. If we don't surround ourselves with other writers, if we don't have writing friends to nudge us, we often don't make the time to write.
How about you? What bittersweet moment can you recall? Slightly sad minds want to know...