Reflections on Day One: Summer Institute

I was relaxed on our first day of our SI, really relaxed.  I even got more than 15 minutes of sleep last night- a lot more!

As Tuvia and I headed out this morning at 6:45 from my place,  I was covered in bags, balanced, ready to reach for my overnight bag but Tuvia was faster,  grabbing for it.  I argued. He ignored. I won :) and we were off with plans to meet up for dinner in Paramus after we both worked a full day.

Both of us began on the Thruway but he was off  in ten, back to Paramus.  I was prepared to hunker down and love the ride to New Paltz.  I was riding with the wind at my back, struggling to stay closer to 70 than 80.  I was trying harder than most of the cars around me, but when I was close to the college, riding the back roads, with the mountains to the right, everything felt good, except the police car that suddenly blocked my view as I struggled to bring down my speed.  I was sure I was speeding and yes, with a bit of hesitation at first, I was right.  Red and Blue lights started flashing, whirling, and I moved over and stopped. I had lots of time, so early now, and I had to remember, be nice, the cop has the upper hand.  Don’t act pissed off.

So when the nice female cop came to my window smiling, shaking her head and reminding me that I had passed by two signs warning me to slow down, I agreed.

“Hey I know you’re in a hurry.”

” Yes, I agreed, first day of our Summer Institute at the college.” Never hurts to remind her that I’m in the “club”.

I handed over my license and registration before she asked.  I was really trying to wangle my way out of a ticket.

She kept me waiting just a few minutes as she checked me out in her car.

“Bonnie, Bonnie, come on.  You have to SLOW DOWN….slow down when you get close to campus. You know that, right?”

“Yes, of course.” Just give me back my stuff and ‘yes, I promise.”  No ticket.  NO TICKET!  I promised, really!

How could I not feel that everything was right with the world: a good night’s sleep, a clear day, a kind cop and I was on my way to kick off a fresh SI with my buddy Christine, our great group of returning fellows and new cohort of interesting, passionate women.

I arrived, got a spot in the circle right outside our building and grabbed up every last bag and my tripod and I was sailing up to the second floor in the speedy elevator.  I wasn’t the first but I was the most relaxed.  Really relaxed and ready to enjoy sharing the experience, participating in a writing into the day with a TED talk I knew well.   I wrote about my greatest fear- the fear of aging alone.  Sad, yes but I was writing free and open. Some people shared their writing even on our first morning and Christine was set with a very powerful workshop to introduce herself to the group who had met her only virtually via Google Hangout.

Whoops, Tuvia is here.  Time to power down, sleep and return for more of a great day. Later!

More fun on the first day- Christine put together a perfect first day workshop: sharing student work with a protocol!  Modeling what teacher collaboration could be and should be in the best of all possible worlds.  Are we moving yet, to the best of all possible worlds???

I loved the rich sharing in groups.  I felt free to read student work and get to know my group as teachers making sense of student writers.  PERFECT!  I loved the fact that modeling the TIW journey was clear.  I watched Sarah shake her head at me with confidence.  Sure, we get this! It was great to have Christine actually sit down for the reflection section and script the group’s reflections.

Break time: Calendar sharing, Reading Groups spelled out.  Books disappeared from the table and I was easy about a sudden change in my book selection.  I wanted to read another Lisa Delpit but, okay, Peter Johnson and his two-book set were known to me as well.

I chose to stay in our SI space and feast on my very healthy, calorie lite lunch of: Danon raspberry yogurt, a packet of baby carrots and a lunch-size tub on Sabra humus and water.  It was good but I wondered just how many lunches would be this controlled given my love for lunch spots in New Paltz.

I love the breaks of our SI schedule with time for a walk to take care of parking permits and someone to step up and lead.  I love reading with a small group.  I love returning for one last touch-base with the larger community.  Yes, the days will feel full before they end and I will dread the long ride home when I am fried but I wouldn’t trade a minute of this rich, unique experience- not a minute. And tomorrow I’ll be joined by Tara, Slicer extra-ordinarie.

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Categories: SI 2013 | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Reflections on Day One: Summer Institute

  1. I am still thinking, thinking, thinking…of all that I learned today with your amazing group of educators.
    A “rich, unique experience” on so many levels. I will tuck away what I’ve learned about writing, teaching, engaging, and inspiring – this will be the fuel I need for next year. Thank you for having me along for the ride today, Bonnie!

  2. I just finished today :)

  3. What a way to begin! I held my breath as I read because you made me believe something was going to happen and it did. Lucky you to escape with no ticket! Your passion for the writing institute comes through every word. Lucky teachers to have you leading them. Now I’m on to read about day 2 with Tara. :-)

  4. I’m thinking that it would be very nice to be in thta institute watching you lead Bonnie. Thanks for telling every bit, even about the kind cop (no more speeding!) & the lite lunch! Like Elsie, I’m off to read about the next day!

  5. An all-female group! That happened a couple of years back at SanJoaquin Valley SI. Glad to see you sharing the experience of the institute here. I will try to get by and check on the group’s progress.

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