Rail Reflections

Breaths came a little easier and deeper as I huddled in the back corner of the train car, the entire section of seats to myself. A book balanced on my knee which was propped up at a sharp angle. My right hand holding the book rocked back and forth, almost shaking rhythmically with the rattle of the rails.

The train car rounded a corner, and the sun filled up the window, perfectly illuminating my book and warming my face.

My mind wandered from Wolf Hollow on my knee back to earlier today, the first day of the Literacy Promise conference my English team is attending. We heard from some heavy hitters in the world of education. Doug Fisher. Carol Jago. AJ Juliani. Penny Kittle.

The ground out the window blurred as I reflected on some of the changes I want to make in my classroom after the inspiring sessions today.

"Every student deserves a great teacher, not by chance, but by design."

When Doug Fisher projected this quote, he asked us pick out a word that stood out to us. "What word did you pick and why?" he asked. I focused on great. Others pulled out deserves or design. Some chose every or chance. Each choice was discussed with reasoning. What a perfect way to kick off a day improvement.

By the end of the day, I had also added what seemed like 500 new books to my to-read list... That's what happens when you get a room full of the best book talk-ers around.

When I think this, I turn my attention back to Wolf Hollow. There's still a great distance needed to go to make a dent in that reading list and to become a better teacher. But I stretched my legs out in front of me under the empty train seats and continued to breathe easy while that sun kept shining through the train car window.

I'll get where I want to go. Even if it's one step, one train stop, or one page at a time.


  1. Love the train metaphor. I'm in my 37th year teaching and still feel as though I have so much to learn. Yes, every student deserves excellent teachers by design. If we could all be as good as Carol Jago, how lucky our students would be.


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