Jessica Martell, NCTE Elementary Representative-at-Large, explains
how the Annual Convention is where she comes to recharge.
“So I look forward to the Convention every year; it’s almost my vacation from my real life.
I look forward to seeing other teachers and meeting with other teachers across the United States and really from all over the world.
I also look forward to learning from them as well as sharing with other teachers the number of authors that I am reading with my students who are available there, as well as the amount of information.
And also it’s a way for me to recharge my batteries in terms of literacy. There’s so much to attain at the conference from read-alouds to writing to speaking, all gamuts.”
Julia Torres, Secondary Representative-at-large, explains
why the NCTE Convention is place for gaining wisdom and strength.
“I would say that the power of attending the Convention is relationships.
It’s the same thing that happens in the classroom. When you can forge a strong relationship with someone, whether they be another first-year teacher or somebody who’s been in the game for a lot longer.
A lot of our elders who’ve been in the game for over 20 years, they show up at the Convention still because they want to invest in younger teachers like myself. And I have gained a lot of wisdom and strength from the connections I have forged with people who have been English teachers for a long, long time.
So I would say attending the Convention is professional development, but it is also that spiritual development that comes from understanding that you’re part of a continuum.
It’s not just you alone doing this work or reinventing things that have already been done.
You are part of a continuum and a really rich tradition of people who are continually trying to exemplify the best practices in serving children with regard to language arts and even librarianship and literacy instruction.
So these are things that you can’t necessarily get at the local level in the same way. Nationally recognized experts in the field of language arts education are all coming together in one place. That’s not something that you see every day.
So that would be my plug for attending the Convention—that it is an unusual experience and it really only happens in that way once a year.
So I would say if folks push back and say, well, we can provide our own inhouse or district PD—it’s not the same; it’s just not the same.”
Tonya Perry, NCTE Member, shares
why attending the NCTE Convention is like finding your family.
“Why do I attend Convention and what do I enjoy most about it?
I’ll be honest: it’s the family. I have an English language arts family nationally and internationally that I would not give up for anything.
[There’s] nothing like walking through the halls and being able to see people you haven’t seen in a year or talked to in a year, at least not face to face.
There’s something about the relationship building and the camaraderie that happens after you continuously attend, go to an event, share space, have conversations . . . there’s a certain family or bonding that occurs.
And I would say that when you get to that point, then you understand that missing Convention is more than just missing a meeting. It’s almost like you’re missing seeing your old friends.
In addition to that, I get a chance to make new friends every year. Convention is a place where not just the same people come, but new people come all the time, whether it’s from a presenting standpoint or from new people attending the conference.
So your family is always extending, your NCTE family is always growing. And I appreciate that about NCTE. It’s big, but it’s [also] not big. It’s large in number, but you also have an opportunity to find your place in the family.”
Leah Zuidema, past President and 2019 Program Chair, offers
concrete examples of the benefits of participation.
“If you’re an administrator, I’d like to encourage you to advocate for the teachers and educators in your building.
I serve as an academic administrator and have done so–this is my seventh year as an associate provost. I understand well what it means for budget to send people to conferences. I also understand very well what it means to have to deal with teacher turnover and issues of retention. And when I think about the cost of sending a teacher to a conference for professional development, for their growth, to know that their school or their district cares about them, it’s so high value to invest in a teacher and have them spend those days here.
It truly is investing in your students. They come back with ideas. They come back with a renewed vigor for studying and growing. They come back with a network for continued learning. They come back ready to share with others in your school.
When we review our sessions and our proposals for the conference, we look very carefully that we are choosing sessions where the pedagogies, the curricular ideas are based on research, they’re sound, they’re focused on student learning, on outcomes, on things that can be assessed, that we know will work.
We have high confidence and want to be able to recommend this Convention to you.”