Slice of Life: An Architect?


When I read about people who have saved diaries and notebooks since they were twelve, I’m sad because I don’t  have these relics from my childhood. I did keep a diary when I was in 5th or 6th grade, but distinctly remember tearing it up directly into the garbage can in our garage, ashamed or embarrassed by something I’d written.

However, I did fill notebooks with drawings of floor plans for houses I dreamed of living in one day. At one point, I considered being an architect, but I abandoned this idea somewhere along the way.

Or did I? For isn’t a writer an architect of sorts? We take a blank piece of paper and design not just houses and buildings, but whole worlds. We’re not constrained by the laws of physics and don’t have to worry about the cost of our creations. We can inhabit our dream worlds to our heart’s content. (Within reason!)

And isn’t being a teacher also similar to being an architect? We design welcoming classrooms and environments that support and nurture learning. Classrooms where we help children acquire the tools they need to construct meaning from the books, articles, and websites they read. And most importantly, we help our students develop the skills they need to become the architects of their own lives. For me, that’s more fulfilling than designing houses could ever be.

 Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnnaBeth, Kathleen, and Deb for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each Tuesday throughout the year and every day during the month of March. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

8 thoughts on “Slice of Life: An Architect?

  1. I love the idea of thinking of teaching as a kind of architecture. Wonderful! I kept a diary when I was about 16. I wrote just about every day. I wish I still had it. Who knows whatever happened to it! I have been trying to keep a sort of work journal for the last couple of months. It has helped to focus and spend just a few minutes writing in the morning.

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  2. I had at one time thought about architecture, and I also started out in college to be a psychologist. I do think the puzzle loving part of me got satisfied in the combination of the two which really does equate to teaching! Nice thought!


  3. This is a beautiful comparison with so many parallels. I think of foundation, balance, light, height, neighborhood, community. I smiled about the torn up diary. I did that, too:).

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  4. What a marvelous idea, Catherine. I suspect you are an architect of many things, including writing and teaching. What about making a family? I still have some old diaries, one from childhood, and a bound book I filled in college. I didn’t do much for a while until I returned to teaching, but kept family scrapbooks each year. I guess that’s a kind of journaling. Thanks for opening out thinking to new ideas about this.


  5. I had a similar experience with a diary. Shame was associated with it. I did spend a lot of time designing a garden though. An imaginary one with wild plants. Homes I only dreamed of. But I remember sketching them in my mind. I love your analogy to a classroom. We do make our spaces.

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