Zigzag: A Life of Reading and Writing, Teaching and Learning
by Tom Romano
"I am not a natural-born teacher. I am not a writer of ease and facility. I've done a lot of zigzagging to get where I am. . . . I have to rethink, ... Show synopsis "I am not a natural-born teacher. I am not a writer of ease and facility. I've done a lot of zigzagging to get where I am. . . . I have to rethink, replan, revise. Adjusting my balance and positioning is ongoing. " We ask our students to write authentically, in their own voice. We validate their knowledge and their experiences. We want them to know the depth and joy of a lifelong love of reading and writing. In "Zigzag" Tom Romano writes his life, creating a model for us of the power that words - written, spoken, heard, read, taught - can have in shaping our professional, personal, and spiritual lives. Tom Romano has long been known for writing with one of the most distinctive and compelling voices in the field. Beginning with scenes of waxing the floor of his father's beer joint, Romano shows us how his voice evolved over time, how he found simpatico voices among friends, family, mentors, and literary writers, and how he wended a long, twisting road to helping students find their own voices. We have long cherished Romano's "Clearing the Way," and here he shows us that the journey to that book led him down the same kinds of hallways we have walked, into the same kinds of classrooms we have taught in. In "Zigzag "we also see how the episodes of Romano's life led him to discover the dynamic fusion of imagination, voice, and content that fuels his celebrated multigenre approach and energizes writing curricula around the country. Romano speaks to us directly, confronting the problems every educator faces, and even years later finding more evidence that success and failure are not opposites but opportunities to learn - always to learn. From student to teacher, Ohio to New Hampshire, from miracle to meltdown to milestones, "Zigzag" opens a window into the development of a writer, a teacher, a reader, a learner. It is the story of our educational values - sometimes lived easily, sometimes shakily - and of what can happen when we pass those values on to our students.