Tuesday, July 03, 2012

New Perspectives and Reaching Up

When I am working with struggling readers in my classroom, I often have to decide when to move them to a lower level of reading material and when to push them to a level a little harder than where they are reading.  I have to decide if the other kids in their reading group are the best fit for where that student is as a reader and where they need to go.  When I pick just the right moment to push a student up to a level a little bit harder, the results can be wildly dramatic.  Sometimes, they take off.  And when it's not the right time, they flounder.  I was thinking about this yesterday after my first meeting with a new critique group.

In this group, for the first time, all the other members are further along in their writing careers than I am.  Most have agents and have had their own work published, in book form.  This is a little intimidating, since I always carry that fear in my brain that I may never reach that point, or, alternately, that I will reach that point and be utterly unprepared for what that means. Not to mention the green-eyed monster that lurks in my depths whenever I am faced with another writer who has reached this level.  I wish I could say I was above such feelings, but I am not.

On the other hand, being in a group with greater experience than myself is very exciting.  I think it is exactly the right time for me as a writer to be in this situation.  I take my writing seriously.  I write regularly.  I attend conferences and workshops.  I submit my work.  I've had some awards.  I've had some nibbles.  I am ready to take things to another level.  If I can get out of my own way and not psyche myself out, this could be something that can really help me fly.  And, with any luck, I will manage to contribute a little something to the group as well.  Deep breaths.  Step in.  Learn.

Have you ever had a time where you reached up, where you put yourself a little further in the deep end?  How did it work out?

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