Trying to Break My Writer's Block

I started the new year hoping to jump back into writing. I started off strong, but as soon as the winter break energy ran out, it seems the writing stopped again.

I think part of the challenge has been trying to figure out something meaningful to say every time I write. This has led to a lot of partially written posts, with little published. Compared to my first year, I am more self-conscious about my writing. I don't have the excuse of being brand new anymore. So I want each sentence I write to convey that I am a truly thoughtful and effective educator.

For now, I have ten minutes on the timer. I think that giving myself a goal of just writing for the sake of writing might be useful. Also I don't have to publish everything I write. And I can work on one piece for a longer amount of time.

The big idea I'm wrestling with now is the idea of trade offs. No matter where you teach, you're forced to accept them. I know this to be true. You might find a school with the right type of pedagogy, but a lack of student or teacher diversity. You might find a school with a commitment to educational equity, but it's a charter school. So yes there are trade offs, but I'm also trying to clarify my non-negotiables. I want to be realistic and open-minded, but I also want to stand up for what I know to be right.

In my 10th year as an educator, I feel like I've figured out what my core beliefs are. At this point, I have a pretty clear sense of the system I'm working in. So I'm beginning to wonder if my core beliefs are incompatible or impossible within the education system. I left the classroom (prematurely) after four years because I wanted to have a bigger impact. I wanted to try to change the system.

Since returning to the classroom I've learned a great deal and grown a lot as a teacher. But in some ways the more I've learned, the more I've come to understand the education system as damaging and oppressive to the kids I teach. This leads me to another puzzle of teaching I think I've always had. How do I reconcile the fact that as a teacher I am an immensely powerful force in a young person's life, and at the same time I often feel powerless to affect the things that matter most in my students' lives?


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