I’m coming off the high of NCTE15.
Before making the commitment to attend this year, I questioned whether I deserved to go. Was this an indulgence? Was I worthy of this trip?
But today, I know this conference is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. It’s not just professional development. It’s professional sustenance.
I learned in sessions led by teachers who enter the classroom every day, just like me and do extraordinary things to teach learners the value and importance of the written word. Teachers like Pernille Ripp, who reach out to authors and enrich the lives of students around the world with the Global Read Aloud.
I learned in sessions led by writers of the books I bring to my students. Writers like Katherine Applegate, Cynthia Lord, Sharon Draper, Linda Urban, Georgia Heard, and Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Writers who humbly share their process, their strategies, their struggles and their hearts for the benefit of teachers and students.
I learned in sessions led by educational leaders and researchers. Those who have provided me intellectual and professional support; whose words I’ve underlined and try to live in my classroom. The likes of Tom Newkirk, Ellin Keene, and Lucy Calkins shared their research and best practices.
I sat with and talked to educators whom I am privileged to call my dear friends. Social media and conferences like NCTE have made these connections possible. We come together for these events that build our relationships and our practice.
Now home, these teachers, wordsmiths, and researchers are beside me, Supporting my students and me. As we read, as we open our writer’s notebooks, as we try on strategies, we engage with this community of literacy.
Teaching children to become thought filled decision makers is a challenge and an honor. The annual NCTE convention supports the passionate community of educator-learners who choose this vocation. It brings together the best in the work to inspire more.