Monday, March 2, 2015

Slice of Life Story Challenge - What I Know For Sure - Teaching Soul Mate

     It's Day 2 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge, started by Two Writing Teachers.  I am writing around the theme topic of "What I Know For Sure." (See Day 1 for a full explanation.)
     "Give us any chance we'll take it..."  Laverne and Shirley.  Megan and Holly.  Or is it Holly and Megan?  I'm not exactly sure. (Those who know both of us, feel free to weigh in on this.) It doesn't matter.  What does matter is that I met Megan about 11 years ago when I was hired as a fifth grade language arts and social studies teacher after an 8 year hiatus from teaching.  She was teaching sixth grade at the time, and even though she is 15 years my junior, I was drawn to her confidence, ideas, and expertise.  She moved to fifth grade the following year, and that's when we became friends. 
     In 2009, we had the opportunity to job share.  The way this came about is a Slice of Life in and of itself.  Let's just say God directly answered a prayer quickly and miraculously.  When we job shared, we started a journey of collaborating, thinking, writing, and talking that continues to this day.  We now teach in separate districts, but that has only strengthened our collaboration.  We get together frequently to talk about life, our goals, books, teaching, presenting, and writing.  We've attended and presented at writing retreats and conferences, eaten countless dinners together, talked about children, friendships, and marriage, ranted over educational issues, written book proposals, been rejected by publishers, regrouped, put together PowerPoints and Prezis, and laughed and laughed.  We've met and befriended people we had admired from afar, started blogs, Twitter, and Goodreads together, and recently, realized we finish each other's sentences and respond to questions and introductions in exactly the same tone and inflection.  It's comical.  Laverne and Shirley.  Shirley and Laverne.
     We've presented at literacy conferences for the past two weekends together, and we realized we are somewhat a comedy of errors and surprises.  Here is a list of things that happen when we're together:
1.  We're the blind leading the blind.  Neither of us has any sense of direction.  This means Siri is constantly annoyed at us.  Rerouting, rerouting, rerouting...
2.  We can never remember our hotel room number, and the key never works.
3.  Once we figure out where our room is, we can never find the elevator.
4.  We don't remember names very well.  This is embarrassing.  We frequently ask each other, "What was her/his name again?"  Megan is better at this than I am.
5.  Strange things happen to us: medical emergencies, squeaky elevators, bad weather, etc.
6.  We can't operate a projector, and the Internet never seems to want to connect when we're giving a presentation.  Thank you, Noah, for rescuing us on Friday!
7.  We are fangirls of authors and literacy gurus, and we have to pinch ourselves when we meet them.  We have to pinch ourselves twice when they know us by name.
8.  Megan forgets things and leaves them behind. 
9.  My iPad never works.  It's not charged, or the keyboard is defective, or it won't connect to the Internet.  It's ridiculous.
10.  Sometimes we are told to separate in order to do separate pieces of writing or talking.  This always leaves us feeling like 5th graders.  Why can't we sit together?!
     I couldn't ask for anyone better with whom to dream, read, teach, think, present, laugh, and write. 
     What I know for sure:  Everyone needs a vocational soul mate or two who shares a vision, passion, and a sense of humor.   This applies to every profession.  Every profession has its pitfalls, joys, and challenges, and it is hard to go it alone. Our profession, teaching, is somewhat under attack right now, and that makes having a soul mate even more imperative. Make sure you're on your professional journey with an innovative, smart, and creative thinker.  Someone who understands what's at stake.  Someone who won't abandon the high road. Someone who listens and encourages. Someone with whom you can have fun. Megan is one of those people for me.  My teaching soul mate. 
     "Schlemiel!  Schlimazel!  Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!"
 “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”
E.B. White, Charlotte's Web


  1. I love this reminder of the importance of a professional soul mate. I think I'm fortunate to have more than one, but I'm separated from mine right now while I'm living in Japan. It's difficult to keep up regular collaboration with the physical difference and the time difference. I definitely look forward to being closer to them and next I am with them I will jot notes down so that I can do a reflection like this one.

  2. I have mine--in fact, I have several. And you are so right, everyone needs those soul mates in their lives. Loved your story, and now, I'm thinking about a slice I could write!

  3. What a blessing this relationship is!!! I loved reading all about it. Thank you for sharing!!

  4. I love this! The two of you are so lucky to have forged such a strong bond...and that video is just what I needed to keep a smile on my face for the rest of the morning.

  5. ... and laughed and laughed -- my favorite part or working with my professional soul mate. I loved reading your slice about your friend.

  6. What a wonderful friendship story! Is Megan slicing? I am dragging along my friend Carolyn (Bayou Warrior) along this month. So far it is bringing us closer.

  7. So glad I found my teaching soul mate several years ago. She retired ahead of me, but we still make time to talk, walk, and laugh. One of these days we plan to go to a movie together. It's harder than you think to coordinate two busy gals retirement schedules.

  8. I found mine last year and I am old enough to be her mother! Some times I send her motherly messages like be careful and don't do anything stupid. But my teaching world got bigger when we hired her and we became friends! Thanks for sharing this story. I would love to see both of you present sometime.

  9. Lucky you, Holly. Sounds as if you and Megan have a great time together, even though there are imperfections, like losing the hotel room...

  10. Your relationship with Megan sounds heavenly!