why untitled, unwritten?

I once labeled everything before it was written, until I found it kept too many words away. Now I am leaving the unwritten untitled, until it grows into a name.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hello, friends!

It's spring break and I'm using this time to consolidate my online life to make many, many things simpler.  To that end, I'm consolidating my million-and-one email accounts into two new email addresses.  Want to reach me?  Send a note to unwrittenuntitled[at]gmail[dot]com.

And if you have any advice for an easy way to find and change all the sites where I have my old email or to save my old emails (and then delete the accounts) without going through them one-by-one, I'd appreciate it!

[Keep it Simple print by Richelle of Pretty Chic SF on Etsy]

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I don't know what to call this post or what pictures to pair with it.  A smattering of things have filled my thoughts lately while I'm developing so many things about myself--developing the person I am as a teacher and how that balances with the person I am at home.  I'm identifying how to practice kindness by finding the space between too strict and too permissive.  I am learning to be bold, to be brave, to do some of the things that scare me...

and at every moment, I am aware that I'm exactly where I am supposed to be, learning to do what I should be doing.  And there is nothing quite like that knowledge and that sense to make even the hard days worthwhile.

Here's what I've been reading as I work through these thoughts:

The Gifts of Imperfection and I Thought it was Just Me (but it isn't) and BrenĂ© Brown's work in general have helped me work through some personal struggles and strengths, but have also had a direct impact on how I approach my students and, now, my family and friends.  In particular, recognizing shame and vulnerability and naming it in myself has helped me to see where others experience both feelings--and where those feelings motivate their actions.  Some people seem to regard Brown's work as fluff, touchy-feely, self-centered (don't read 1-star reviews, in other words), but I've found that the stories and definitions and descriptions of her experience and others have helped me translate ideas into actions.

The Power of Our Words, by Elizabeth Denton, may have been written for elementary school teachers, but translates directly into work with middle schoolers.  It builds on many ideas that I also noticed in Brown's books--shame and disrespect don't motivate us to do better, to be better.  They simply make us think we are bad, not that we've made a mistake.  Denton's book is full of practical applications and actual examples of words that guide and correct without shaming children.

I usually skip past the motivational/life-coach type blog posts that show up in my Feedly reader, but I didn't skip "Why Fear and Failure Are Your New Best Friends" from Katherine at The Beauty of Life and I'm glad.  I'm approaching a million adventures this year and sometimes I'm caught up in the fear that I won't be successful in them...but that's okay.  I have to go forward and try and learn from fears and failures.  This might be common sense, but I still need reminders to practice risk-taking, and I'm okay with that.

...and this post on the word "should" presents an idea that's sat with me lately and translated into a new approach to others: instead of looking at what people should know, should do, should think, I look at what they actually know, do, and think.  I've found, rather quickly, that I'm less frustrated with others because I realize that even if something should be different, worrying about what should be doesn't help me do anything about what is.

In a few days or weeks or whenever I have time, I'll explore these ideas,  each in their own posts.  What have you been thinking about lately?  What ideas have filled your days?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lately, Again

When did I last post?  I'm not even sure.  When I resolved to write this year, I meant I'd journal and blog more.  Obviously, I haven't.

Instead, I've been writing for school, every day, constantly.  I pulled this together, too, and I'm fairly pleased:

In just two months and a few days, I'll graduate with my teacher certification.  I love my placement school, and I love the kids, but I am still so excited to graduate and, fingers crossed, have my own classroom in the fall.  Every day, I leave school tired, and I have moments of great frustration, but on each of those days, I also leave fulfilled.  I leave school knowing that I have tried, that I have cared, that I have taught, and with great hope that the kids have learned.

I also hope that I haven't annoyed the eighth graders too much by rhapsodizing about To Kill a Mockingbird.  They find my love for the book and movie a little amusing and odd.  Just wait, I tell them.  Read it again, or get to the end, and you'll feel that connection to the story, to that knowledge that it tells us something important about what it is to be human.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


One of the classes at my placement school is reading my favorite book and I got to lead discussion on Friday.  This week, I'll teach about it a little more, and I want to get them writing about this line.  I've shared it a few times, but it's one I've had memorized for nine years because I love it that much.

I can't read it without remembering my incredible teacher from sophomore honors English, who lived these words in the face of cancer and even though we lost her, we never forgot.  I'm not sure I'll tell my students about that part of the story yet.  It's been almost nine years, though, so perhaps it's time to tell?

Monday, January 6, 2014

When You're Ready to Begin

I'm ready to student teach.  I've done all the preparatory work.  I've studied, taught a few lessons, organized my paperwork.  The freezer has the pre-made lunches, my closet has enough leggings and dresses and sweaters to keep me both professional and warm, my reflections journal is ready to go.

But there's no school.

So although I'm not going to complain about extra days off (even if we will have to make them up later), I'm ready to get started.  I'm ready to get in the classroom, work with a great mentor teacher, and meet a hundred or so new kids.  I'm ready to figure out what kind of teacher I'll be and what kind of classroom I want to create.

But there's no school.

So I'm learning a little extra patience, which I suppose isn't a terrible thing to learn.

Winter, you've had your fun!  Now let me student teach!