It’s been a day

November 20, 2006

I met my friend Maja about seven years ago.  She subscribed to a listserv for English teachers that I was quite active on, and her fresh ideas and grasp of theory impressed me.  I was pleased to learn that she lived in Grand Rapids, only about an hour’s drive from my house.  So, we decided to meet.  I was amazed at how young she was.  At the time, she wasn’t even 30.  And she was pregnant with her second child.  Since then Maja has moved to a small city on the shores of Lake Michigan where she and her husband raise their two toe-headed boys and where Maja teaches.

This week the world opened to Maja.  She wrote a book, Rethinking Rubrics published by Heinemann, and here at NCTE’s conference, she is experiencing the warmth and acceptance that she deserves.  Her book is smart and beautifully written, and it challenges a sacred cow in education–the rubric. It’s beautifully written.  She has the most fluid writing style.  And she tackles the topic in such an intelligent and graceful way.

Maja did a session yesterday that was very well attended, especially since it was placed at the end of a long conference day.  But Susan Ohanian was there and Maja was thrilled at the warm hug she got from Susan.  Maja deserves all the attention she’s getting.  It makes me tear up just thinking about all the good things that are going to happen because she wrote such a meaningful and necessary book.  She’s going to be an important voice in this profession.  And she’s my friend.  I feel honored.

I had a good couple of days, too.  I’ve gotten a couple of invitations to write chapters for books.  And I have a terrific book idea.  It’s something I should have written about years ago.  I’m going to try and get it done by next fall, which means I have to get cracking. But I have the introduction in my head already, and I know how I’m going to write it.  No book ever really writes itself, but I know this topic so well.

Today I sat next to Susan and listened to Doug Christensen, Nebraska’s Commissioner on Education.  What a wonderful man!  He bravely stood up to the feds and refused to let them mess up the assessment system that he developed for Nebraska.  We gave him a standing ovation at the end and he was touched. 


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