Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016
From a Single Work to Multiple Scholarly Spin-Offs
Writing as Professional Development
One day a letter arrived in the mail from the Rockefeller Foundation. The letter looked, as the British would say, very posh with high rag-content paper and embossed gold lettering. At first, I assumed it was a call for donations and was so busy at the time that I nearly discarded it without opening it but then decided to look inside. The letter read, “Dear Dr. Jalongo: We have read your book Teachers’ Stories: From Personal Narrative to Professional Insight with great interest and resonated to your work.” The letter went on to state that The Rockefeller Foundation had funded a 13 million dollar initiative to support the development of everyone in eight urban schools—students, parents and other community members, teachers, administrators, and staff members; it was called the Learning Communities Network. As part of that project, they were going to produce a publication called Narratives and I was invited to serve on the Editorial Board. The financial compensation was a modest honorarium each year but the opportunity was of inestimable value. The way we worked was that manuscripts would come in—many written by first-time authors—and members of the Editorial Board would discuss them during a conference call. One of our favorites had been written by a janitor who was required to earn his General Education Diploma in order to retain employment at the school district. He described how he felt resentful of this at first but, after beginning the classes, his resolve to earn the GED was built by working within a supportive learning community. Sadly, shortly after he earned his diploma, his father was hospitalized and diagnosed with a terminal illness. He took the diploma with him to show his father, who beamed with pride at his son’s accomplishment before he passed away a few days later. This project was a continual source of inspiration and education for me. Several of the schools were in areas where Spanish was spoken, so the publication had the unique feature of being published in English on one side of the page and Spanish on the reverse side and all the reader had to do was flip it over. Children produced the art for the cover. The other Board members were people whose work I had admired. Several of us presented at a national conference together. Many times rewards have less to do with financial compensation and more with learning opportunities.
The last, great outgrowth of a professional career is professional wisdom. Choosing your projects wisely gives you the greatest opportunity to attain that goal. Sternberg (2004) proposed a theory of wisdom in which wise decisions are made only when:
· The common good is considered
· Multiple interests (i.e., intrapersonal, interpersonal, extrapersonal) are balanced
· Consequences are considered over time (i.e., short-term, long-term)
· Environmental contexts are taken into account (e.g., adapting/shaping existing contexts or selecting new contexts) and all of the preceding items (1—4) are:
· Influenced by a system of values.
Wisdom is what makes our professional lives more productive and satisfying across the lifespan.
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