The First Chapter
Benefits of Attending #NCTE17
With more than 600 sessions to choose from and more than 6,000 fellow educators to meet, you can really shape NCTE’s Annual Convention to meet your specific needs. Below you’ll find 4 different ways to think about the benefits of attending, but be sure to check out the testimonials page to hear from other teachers about why they attend.
Enrich Your Students’ Learning Experience:
There are a few teachers who actually bring students to the Convention because they’ve found it to be such a powerful learning opportunity. If you’re not quite there yet, there are still many ways to bring the Convention back to your students. Here are a few:
- Connect with students’ favorite authors and bring back books signed by them.
- Consider the areas in which you struggle most to engage your students and we guarantee you’ll find sessions tailored to that need.
- Invite them to browse the program and suggest sessions on topics THEY would like to learn more about.
- Bring samples of student work and network with other attendees to get feedback on your assignments and to think about ways to push learning.
- Return rejuvenated and full of new ideas – they’ll notice and thrive off your newfound energy.
Improve Your Own Practice:
Passionate educators like you understand that the learning of a teacher is never complete, but it’s often hard to find the time to grow ourselves when we’re so committed to growing the minds in our care. That’s what makes this Convention so special. It’s all about you and what you need to feed you as a teacher and learner. For example:
- Identify an area you’re struggling with and schedule your program with a variety of sessions on the topic. Be sure to include a few outside your comfort zone – people say that’s where the real learning happens.
- Meet the authors of the resources you’re reading right now. Whether they’re professional texts, YA novels, or the latest research from journals, this Convention brings all these authors under one roof. You can search the program by presenter to find your heroes!
- Find your community. Within NCTE there are several ways to connect with members who share your experiences. You can attend special sessions just for elementary, middle, secondary, or college sections of our membership. You can participate in meetings of our special interest groups. In all these gatherings you’ll have the opportunity to connect in a friendly environment with people who share your passion for the profession. There is guaranteed to be a group that matches your interests, and we can help connect you.
- Build your library. Whether you’re looking for texts on writing or a new graphic novel, the exhibit hall offers hundreds of booths to visit, resources at greatly reduced prices, and enough giveaways to fill several suitcases. We’ve never done the math, but it’s a sure bet you could nearly recoup convention costs in free books alone.
Strengthen Your Team:
When teachers attend with colleagues they’re able to strategize in the moment about how what they’re learning could be applied back home. Here are some benefits of attending with a team:
- If you choose a line of inquiry that relates to a shared issue or interest, you can really go deep with your exploration on the ground.
- There are more than 600 sessions on the program. More people means you can divvy up sessions so you’re able to benefit from the learning in many more than you ever could alone.
- You’ll experience deeper learning because you can process what you’ve experienced right away and talk about it in light of your shared context.
- You can do collaborative planning during down times so you can think through immediate applications.
- Strategically build a shared library by dividing up who goes to what book giveaways, when.
- You might see reduced costs from carpooling and room sharing.
Provide Professional Learning for Your Colleagues Back Home:
Here’s how many teachers have taken their own learning experience and turned it into a benefit for their whole school:
- Identify the key literacy issue(s) your school/district is addressing right now. Consider doing this with an administrator to ensure buy-in and shared agreement. Examples might include:
- Meeting the needs of English language learners
- Improving reading or writing proficiency
- Building a culturally relevant curriculum
- Increasing the use of choice reading time
- Strengthening students’ skills in argumentation
- Explore the online program and pull out specific sessions that would address these issues. Put together a sample agenda that shows which sessions you might attend to build your knowledge in these areas of need. Share that agenda with your administrator so they understand what you’ll be learning and invite feedback if there are sessions you’re waffling between.
- Attend those sessions and gather good notes, photos of relevant slides, handouts (many will also be available online), and contact information for the presenters.
- Provide a staff presentation when you return and share what you learned. While you’re at the Convention you’re likely to make connections with other presenters who might be willing to video conference for your talk, and you are certain to walk away with resource materials that can be shared with your colleagues. In this way, you’re able to vastly multiply the financial investment the school makes in you by providing professional learning for many others.