The Music of My Pen

The experience of participating in etmooc – Educational Technology Media Open Online Course – since January was awesome in developing my literacy with the digital and media opportunities that abound for education.  Thus I felt confident that I could pursue my learning goals without the constrictions of traditional learning models.  So, as etmooc is gearing down, I have ventured into the hope that this MOOC – English Composition course through Coursera at Duke University – will develop my writing skill as a teacher, a learner, and a writer.

This first piece of writing completes the challenge to introduce myself to my class.

Image of a modern fountain pen writing in curs...

Image of a modern fountain pen writing in cursive script. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The magic of finding the pen tip its voice onto the blank stave, harmonizing ideas into life.  A breathless rest followed by a slow heartbeat until the thoughts bleed from the melodious voice of the subtle nib.

As a reader, my heart and mind have always been enraptured with the beauty of words.  To see how one’s imagination, heart and mind can find its voice onto a page has always enchanted, yet muted me.  I, too, have always wanted to make the journey to where my nib flows freely.  Sure, I have captured a riff here and even a song there – but never fully committed to the orchestral enchantment of being confidently called a writer.

This is the ironic ideal that precedes the old pithy idiom that “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”  Yes, the truth is … I teach Senior High School English.  So I navigate the cacophony of teenage writing, but for years – never dared reveal the melodies in me. 

All this changed one day in a ballroom in Chicago where I basked in the glory of the gurus at the NCTE conference, wondering if I’d ever really grow up and be wise like the big kids and as energetically creative as the young kids?   After many enlightening presentations – actually most of them just perpetuated my self-doubt of mediocrity – I sat in the packed audience to hear Jim Burke, Kelly Gallagher, and Penny Kittle prophetize that I was to “Practice What I Preach” – writing and sharing it publicly, with my students!  Way down, deep inside, my chords shrieked: “I’m not good enough – I just pretend”!

However I have embarked on the elusive quest of my own rhapsody by “Blogging Beside My Students” at

Through this course I intend to reflect on the process of learning as a writer, hoping to transfer such skills into my classroom.  But, truly, I hope to inspire my symphony. 

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Ballpoint pen, Coursera, Duke University, Jim Burke, Writing implement