Yesterday I contemplated the life story of a man I know only because I often pass him on my way to work. Today, I’m still thinking about life stories, and this made me think of Jennifer Allen, a literacy specialist in Waterville, Maine, and the author of Becoming a Literacy Leader: Supporting Learning and Change (Stenhouse, 2006) and A Sense of Belonging: Sustaining and Retaining New Teachers (Stenhouse, 2009). I read Becoming a Literacy Leader when I began working as a literacy specialist and found Allen’s advice both thoughtful and practical.
Early in Allen’s career as a literacy leader, she was frustrated by the lack of buy-in from her colleagues. In an effort to break the cycle of PD sessions where she did most of the talking, Allen posed this question: “If you had only seven stories to tell of your life, what would they be?” Allen states that “the attention and interest of the staff was captured immediately” and that “teachers were eager to share their stories.” (No surprise here, right, Slicers?)
I intended to share what my seven stories would be, even though I’ve shared some of them with you already. But when I looked up Allen’s current biographical information, I found a “What Do You Know?” interview. This seems much more manageable at this late hour.
Books Next to My Bed: The Round House, by Louise Erdrich; Words in the Dust, by Trent Reedy; The Arden Shakespeare: Book of Quotations from Songs and Sonnets; What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms & Blessings, by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
Favorite Destressing Activity: Going for a walk
Pets: Lucy, a beagle, and Noodles, a fluffy orange kitty
Hobbies: Knitting and gardening
Inspiration: Nature, art, and interesting people
Favorite Place to Visit: Northern Virginia, where my son and his wife live, and New York City, where my younger son lives (Also home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, my favorite museum.)
Guilty Pleasure: Peanut M&Ms
Item on My Bucket List: Traveling to Florence, Italy
Music on My iPod: (Very eclectic and not too up-to-date) the Beatles, Broadway shows, Mozart
Proud Accomplishment: Raising two sons
What Makes Me Laugh: My husband, The Big Bang Theory
A Few Favorite Movies: Some Like it Hot, The Shawshank Redemption, White Christmas