At this time tomorrow, I’ll be “wheels up” and on the way to Las Vegas for the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention. (If you’re already in Las Vegas, save some fun for me!)
What am I excited to do at this convention? See old friends, meet online colleagues in person for the first time, connect with outstanding educators from all over, learn innovations in English teaching, snag free books, and join dynamic teachers from across the country to exchange ideas.
I’m the luckiest guy in the world for a variety of reasons. Not least among those reasons is the fact that some of my favorite teachers and thinkers agreed to join me in creating two presentations that we will share on Saturday morning. Thank you, Amy, Leslie, Tony, Teresa, Jen, and Karen. What we have worked through over the last several months is authentic collaboration at its finest.
Those of you who have delivered presentations at conferences know what is involved. Why do we do this? There is always a point where I ask myself that same question. For me, that point was a couple of days ago, but it has now been replaced by unbridled enthusiasm for what I get to do in Las Vegas.
But it’s worth considering: Why do we spend countless hours voluntarily doing such deep thinking and writing, organizational heavy lifting, and all the travel logistics? Why do we put ourselves through all of that? Not because we have to but because we want to. That means it’s not drudgery.
One of our administrators says teachers who present at conferences don’t get as much out of them as those who attend without presenting. I couldn’t disagree more.
When we draft and submit a conference presentation proposal, we are saying, “I believe so strongly in this idea that I want to share it. I commit so wholeheartedly to this concept that I will work very hard to make it exciting and worthwhile for those who honor us by attending our session.” So, thank you to everyone who is contributing time and talent as an NCTE conference presenter, and thank you to everyone who participates in these sessions.
When we attend a conference like this, we ask sacrifices from our families, our schools, and our students. Routines are disrupted, and others have to step up and step in. So, thank you to my family and my students, and to those who support my attendance at this important event.
I haven’t figured out everything about my NCTE schedule yet, but here are the places and times where I know I’ll be for sure.
Friday, November 16, 2012: Stop by EMC Publishing the Exhibition Hall to say hi or talk about developing young writers. We’ll gladly set you up with the new edition of our book, Expository Composition: Discovering Your Voice. I’ll be with Tony Romano. Location: Exhibition Hall, Booths 406-410.
Saturday, November 17, 2012:
Session F.13: “HERE, THERE, AND EVERYWHERE: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT THAT STARTS WITH YOU” with Jen Ansbach, Teresa Bunner, and Tony Romano. 8:00-9:15 a.m. Location: MGM Grand, Room 308, Level Three.
Do your in-service days leave you uninspired and dreaming of meaningful professional development? Join us to co-discover, learn, and discuss ways newer teachers, veterans, and everyone in between can find and design relevant, affordable, authentic professional development experiences at school, online, and off-site. Connect and ignite your professional development!
Session G.30: “IGNITING STUDENT BLOGGERS: USING CREATIVE NONFICTION TECHNIQUES TO CONNECT WITH ONLINE AUDIENCES” with Leslie Healey, Amy Rasmussen, and Tony Romano. 9:30-10:45 a.m. Location: MGM Grand, Grand Ballroom, Room 118, Level One.
When students know their writing will be read by wide audiences, they take their language seriously and make exciting choices. In this interactive session, participants will discover and explore how to use creative nonfiction techniques to launch student blogs alive with powerful ideas, imagery, and intellectual curiosity.
If you’re reading this and you’ll be at the convention, I hope we have a chance for a visit. If that doesn’t work out, have a great convention as you gather up ideas, materials, and inspiration to bring back to your students.
If you’re not at the convention, feel free to follow along at home in your slippers by tracking the #NCTE12 hashtag on Twitter! Our presentation materials will also be added here a little later.