Friday, September 12, 2014

Day 7: Colleague who was or is your biggest inspiration

This prompt is simply unfair. If you read yesterday's post then you know there are too many candidates in the running for this.  I thought I might list each name and say one thing about how that person inspires me. Nice thought but reality is that it is Friday after my first full week with all 110 of my students. I think that list would take me more than a day, not to mention I would be terrified of leaving off the name of anyone.  I can just skip this one, right?

But the more I thought and wrote about it in my notebook today, I realized there is one person who I truly look up to, respect, am in awe of, frankly, and who truly inspires me. That person is Alicia Wein. I knew that many of you who might read this would say, "Yeah, Alicia totally inspires me too." So I figured I should take this opportunity to let her know.

I have been lucky to have a relationship with Alicia that has developed over the years in a multitude of ways.  While we didn't first meet until we both applied and were accepted into the Capital District Writing Project, we had been district colleagues for close to five years. But she was in the high school and I was at the middle school and, sadly, our paths never crossed.

Since meeting her, she has been my 2004 CDWP cohort member, Guilderland colleague, Summer Institute co-facilitator, writing group compadre and, most importantly, friend. In all of these roles, I have always been inspired by her. I remember being amazed during our 2004 Summer Institute at her quiet demeanor but impressive intellect. The depth of her thoughtfulness is something I think most people would identify as her best quality among her many others. This is always inspiring.

As her Guilderland colleague, I often think to myself that I am possibly preparing my students in case they have Ms. Wein (who is just one of the talented English teachers that are our GHS English department).  Former students always sing her praises for being that teacher who challenges, engages and makes you enjoy her class.  One student referred to her class as "easy" because she "gives you credit as long as you do the work." What is glossed over in that statement though is the kind of, dare I say, rigorous work that that is demanding and relevant to students' lives. This inspires the kind of lessons and work that I challenge my own students with. Alicia leads by example, and I am truly grateful for all that she has taught and shared with me.

As a friend, she is the consummate good listener. Someone you can vent to, laugh with, cry with and be quiet with. She is, as we say in our writing group, one of my Bi+€#es. 😊 She inspires to me to be a better friend.

I hope you don't mind this love letter, of sorts, Alicia. But you are a true inspiration to me and many of your colleagues and I wanted to be sure you knew.❤️

1 comment:

Bob Yagelski said...

I co-taught a senior Focus English class at GHS with Alicia a few years ago and learned more about effective teaching and good writing instruction that year than any other year in the three decades I've been teaching writing. She's a remarkable teacher and person, and I'm privileged to know her.