A real first…

This email goes on the list of best emails ever. Here’s what it said:

Good Evening!

I attended your presentation at MRA, and was so excited to take your thinking back to the team in our district that is redefining our former Summer School program.  We would love to try out the pst2ic3 this summer with our struggling students.  I was wondering if you had any additional pieces of your work that you would be willing to share that we could use with teachers to help them to be more successful with implementing something like this with a group of kids.

Thanks for any help and guidance you can give!

This is the first time someone I don’t know has attended a conference presentation and (a) emailed me after for more information and (b) has told me that they would like to use ideas that I’ve been working on to frame their own practice with students.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I read this this morning!

And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Anyone who has worked on a dissertation knows about the self-questioning that so often leads one to wonder if it’s all worth it. I have wondered whether all of this effort will make any real, positive impact for students in schools. Will anyone care about these ideas? Will there be value in any of this for anyone? Is this a line of research I really want to spend my professional life pursuing? Will anyone ever hire me to teach this stuff…and the list goes on.

One has to believe, of course, that the effort is worth the sacrifice; that the work is good and valuable. I do believe these things. But I also think anyone who has written a dissertation will admit that having faith in the work is hard. The “limitations” of one’s own research are always easier to see than the strengths. N’est-ce pas?

So, thank you kind emailer. A message like yours is also a voice telling me to stay the course and to keep on…

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