When I picked up Zig Zag, I’m not sure what I was looking for, exactly. What I got was a whole lot of inspiration. I have been fortunate enough to have had Dr. Romano as my methods instructor last year, but reading his book, aside from a visit with a friendly voice, gave me an understanding of something I sensed, I think, at NCTE in Chicago last fall: both teaching and writing are collaborative efforts. Even though we may be alone with the page and alone with our students, it is in the sharing of what we do that we become better writers and teachers.
Zig Zag is not a book about teaching in the sense that Dr. Romano takes the reader through specific ways to teach writing–he does that in his other books, and each day he gets up to teach at Miami University, poem in hand (or head). Instead, this is the story of a teacher who found his way, who jumped into opportunities with faith and fearlessness. That’s all he ever really asked of us, and he is able to do that because that’s how he lives his career.
I eased my way through this one slowly–one or two chapters each night–because 1) I was reading other things at the same time and 2) I wanted to give myself time to think about what I had read, time to make meaning for myself and learn from someone else’s zigging and zagging. It has been a good exercise for me, and I’ve learned quite a bit about who I am and who I want to be as a teacher which, if you ask me, is a pretty good example of the impact words can have.