We mark the sudden passing of our friend, colleague, and mentor, Kathleen Tolan, with great sadness; in remembering Kathleen and the importance of her work, no words speak better than her own, in a passage from one of her most recent books, co-written with Lucy Calkins:
There's nothing like the start of a new school year, or of a new initiative. One of the great joys of teaching is that every year you have the chance to start again, with renewed energy and resolve. You know the excitement of a new class list: Who are these children? What will they be like?
You are nervous and excited not only because you wonder who the children will be; you also wonder who you will be during the year ahead. Teachers, too, assume new roles, and one of the beautiful things about the profession of teaching is that each of us has a chance to remake ourselves each and every year.
Stop and take a moment to imagine ways in which your teaching will be even better than it was last year. Cleaning the classroom closet can wait; the most important thing you can do now is to form a clear picture of the teacher you want to be.
And just as important as nurturing dreams for yourself as a teacher is nurturing the dreams your students have for themselves. Teach toward what matters most. Say to your students, "My goal is for each of you to do nothing less than build a life in which reading [and writing] matters. Go for it!" Then pull your chair alongside them to learn how you can help. (Building a Reading Life, 2015)
Rallying educators and children alike to the urgent call of a rich, literate life—this was always Kathleen's priority and gift. She will be greatly missed, and I hope we can aim to remember her by honoring this vital call to arms. With sadness and appreciation, Abby Heim, Editorial Director.