The Write Timing

My voyage toward publication

Always August 18, 2016

Filed under: Classroom,Family,Parenthood,School,Uncategorized — michellephillips @ 9:48 pm
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Today was the first day of school.  As a teacher, I have always loved this time of year.  The excitement of finding out who is going to be in your class, the sun streaming in the classroom windows, and the school supply shopping – oh the school supplies!  And as much as I love teaching and love this time of year, today was difficult for me.  Because back-to-school doesn’t just mean I get to start a new school year with my students anymore.  It means I have to end a summer spent cuddling, reading to, laughing with, and loving up my babies.



Last night, I figured I should probably rid my purse of its “mom” contents.  I removed a tiny tube of Aquifor, two pacifiers, and a couple of crunched up Goldfish.  But this morning, as I was searching for my lanyard that Olivia surely took out and hid somewhere, my fingers brushed a  mini Minnie Mouse.  And that’s the beauty of being a mommy, especially a working mommy.


Even though you aren’t always with them, your children are always with you.  They are in the stories you tell – how Olivia had the time of her life at the splash pad and how Nate’s new favorite game is patty cake.  The lunches you pack that now include food in an assortment of Disney Princess containers.  The coffee you grab because someone woke up more times than normal last night.  The frames on your desk and the videos on your phone.  They are there.  They are always there.


But what makes it easier is working with a beautiful group of students.  Students whose parents are thinking about them all day.  In their stories, while eating their lunches, drinking their coffee.  They leave their child and entrust them to me.  And I promise to take care of that child and help him or her to grow.  Because I know that when each parent leaves their child at school, they aren’t just leaving a 7 year-old.  They’re leaving their heart.  Because that’s what I did.



Back to School August 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — michellephillips @ 6:22 am
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I realize that this post comes a week and a half after school has been back in session.  And that I, as a teacher, actually began on August 14.  So, technically, I’ve been “back to school” for about two and a half weeks now.  But those of you who are teachers, live with teachers, or are the offspring of teachers will understand why.  

This time of the year is crazy.

It’s setting up the classroom so it looks simply perfect for those incoming impressionable minds.  In my case, and the case of many of my dedicated colleagues, it meant beginning those preparations mid-July so that things were just so when the year began.  In my classroom, it meant pulling my theme, Hollywood, into every aspect of the room.  In Mariel’s room across the hall, it meant multiple stops at Dollar Tree for balloons (you’d never know there’s a helium shortage looking at her bulletin boards!) and party decorations. In Connie’s room, it was designing paper Husker jerseys to hang outside with each student’s last name on the back.  Ben spent his time using the leveling app on his phone to make sure every poster, Word Wall word, and calendar was exactly straight.  Erin rearranged her room and bought brightly colored ice cream bowls.  Colleen made lovely curtains.  Shari affixed an adorable awning to her doorway.  I’m sure that Sara moved in her cot, because I’m fairly certain she lives at school during the year.  These preparations take our last weeks of summer and get us pumped for what’s to come.

It’s meeting our new students for the first time, and their parents, too.  And equally, if not even a little bit more exciting, it’s seeing our old students from the previous year return, ready with hugs and tales of their summer adventures.  

It’s the anxious feeling when you go to sleep the night before the first day.  Teachers feel it, too!  Going through the mental checklist (or paper checklist for some of us), making a lunch after a summer of not needing to pack one, and arriving shortly after the custodian unlocks the building doors, two hours early, just to make sure everything is exactly the way it needs to be.

It’s procedures and routines – and a lot of teacher talk time.  The time we spend going over and over classroom procedures and routines feels monotonous.  It means a dry throat and a few glazed over pairs of eyes, but that time comes back twenty-fold in the coming weeks as the students know the expectations.

It’s sharpened pencils, fresh boxes of crayons, and names written in Sharpie.  It’s envelopes of lunch money, decorated folders, and assignment notebooks.  It’s a little bit larger coffee and a lotta bit nicer clothing than summer.  It’s building new relationships and setting goals.

It may be crazy, but it’s also pretty magical.


Remember Me? August 17, 2011

This math graphing activity is only one of the many exciting activities awaiting my new students!

Monday marked the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year for 26 of the most adorable 5th graders on the planet.  They came in all bright-eyed and looking slightly intimidated.  No one laughed at my hilarious jokes the entire first morning (and I’m telling you, I’m a funny girl), and it took a long pause after “When you come in, put your attendance stick in the Present cup, but if you’re not here, you’ll want to put your stick in the Absent cup,” before one of my little “darlings” said, “Well, that doesn’t make sense.”  I love 5th graders.  And at the beginning of each new school year, I’m reminded of why.  They’re so sweet, so eager to please, so unjaded.

But the thing I always forget that comes with the beginning of the school year is the tremendous amount of work it entails.  The immense feeling of exhaustion that finds me wishing it was bedtime around 8:00.  And this brings me back to the title of this entry.  It was on the way home from school today (I left at 5:04 after I told myself I’d try to leave my 4:30) when I heard my dear old friend Shirley, “Hey, remember me???”  Longtime blog followers, you’ll remember Shirley.  She’s that voice in my head (not like a crazy voice, more like a what-are-you-thinking-you-can’t-possibly-publish-a-book voice) that has a way of sneaking into my brain and trying to convince me I’m not going to be successful.  I think she crawls in top of my ear, sits there, and then flicks it every once in a while.


Gee, pretty tired tonight, aren’t you?


Bet you don’t even want to think about that blog post you had scheduled to write on Monday.


By the way, it’s Wednesday.


I have no idea why you thought you’d be able to keep writing daily once school started.  Fool.

So, after addressing invitations to my 30th birthday party (more on what that’s doing to my psyche later), I told Shirley the same thing I’ve told her many times.  Shut it, Shirl.  No way am I going to let her deter me.  Not when I’m closer than I’ve ever been.  Not when I’m finally starting to identify myself as a writer.  Not now, Shirl.  I’m not the fool.  You are.

***And now, an exciting notice to readers!***

Be sure to stop by my blog this Sunday, August 21 to check out a guest post from a writer friend of mine, Heather McCorkle.  Heather is doing a blog tour (Tour of Secrets) in honor of the publication of her novel, The Secret of Spruce Knoll.  I’m excited and honored that Heather has made The Write Timing a stop on her tour.  Be sure to stop by and check out one of her writing secrets!


Back to School! August 10, 2011

Filed under: Classroom,School — michellephillips @ 6:53 pm
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It is my very favorite time of year – Back to School time!  Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always LOVED the back-to-school season.  As a child, it meant finding a new pair of shoes for the year (as a uniform-wearer, shoes were about my only outlet of fashion fun), running to the doors at St. Wenceslaus to check and see who my new teacher was (and if my BFFs were in my class), and my ultimate favorite activity – school supply shopping.

As a little girl, Mom would take my brother, sister, cousin Nikki, and I to the store (usually Target), supply lists in hand.  I took my time combing the aisles, selecting the perfect assignment notebook and an array of Lisa Frank folders.  When we got home, the supplies went into the office and I waited (with bated breath) for my dad to get home so that I could pull the brown paper bag out of the office and show him each of my school supplies, one by one.  It was, in a word, heaven.

My husband and I took a trip to Target tonight.  I found myself gravitating toward the school supplies (just as he always goes straight for the toys; I swear he’s really just a big kid).  I couldn’t help it.  The smell of bright pink erasers and No. 2 pencils beckoned me (I meant it, just walk by the aisle; the smell is intoxicating).  As a teacher, I at least have a little bit of an excuse for browsing the school supply aisle.  Typically, I’ll buy a few things “for the classroom.”  Tonight, I resisted the temptation (and was quite proud of myself, thank-you-very-much).  But I’m not sure I’ll be able to hold out forever.  The back-to-school season is only around for so long.  I’m sure there will be something I’ll need.

I know that one of the reasons that I have such a deep affection for school supply shopping is that I’ve always really enjoyed school (a real “plus” for a teacher, don’t you think?).  Even as an adult, I consider myself a lifelong learner.  And really, when you think about it, lifelong learners are always learning.  The world is our classroom.  And learners need supplies.  And…on second thought, I may need to take another glance.  Let me grab my keys.


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