The Mess Before the Clarity

This week, I’m filling in for  writer’s workshop for a teacher who is on vacation. I’m teaching the realistic fiction unit to fourth graders.  As the principal, it’s actually the best part of my day to be back in the classroom for a week teaching writing.  My assignment: to get the students from nurtured seed idea to draft by the end of the week! Since I’ve never taught this unit before myself, it’s back to the basics for me: reading the teacher’s manual, planning lessons at night, finding mentor texts, assessing students daily and refining my plan for tomorrow to reflect all of that!

Today we were in the messy phase of idea to scene to drafting! It was a good mess though…the mess that comes before the clarity.  I’m feeling that both in teaching of the writer’s workshop and in my own learning curve of being back in the classroom for a week (with a specific assignment and deadline – no less!).  For all of us, disequilibrium is good every once in a while.  It’s good to feel a little uncomfortable, a little messy, a little less-than-organized and know that sometimes that’s the only way to find the clarity that you are seeking.

I’m loving my little 1 hour of disequilibrium each day – not knowing exactly how the lesson will go, how the students will respond and how the rest of the week will turn out.  We’ll see….



  1. Christy said,

    April 6, 2011 at 1:09 am

    I clicked because of your lead in “the mess before the clarity.” I live by this phrase. Now that I am here, I just can’t get past that you are a principal and you are filling-in for a teacher. My administrator has never taught a day in her life (I have complete respect for her, but there is a definite lack of classroom experience that gets in the way every now and then). I can’t imagine working for a principal who not only rolls up her sleeves and gets her hands dirty, and enjoys, but even “gets it.”

  2. MaryHelen said,

    April 6, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Writing is messy. You are right in saying that clarity does come from the mess. It’s like cleaning. Revisions happen. Through the hard work, you appreciate the ending.

  3. elsie said,

    April 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    It is so awesome that you will jump into a classroom and teach, wish more principals were like that. Can’t wait to hear how the week turned out, keep us posted.

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