Annual Convention: November 17-20, 2022      2022 Dates & Deadlines
  • October 2022
  • August 2022
  • A Welcoming Space

    Prepare for #NCTE22 by reading this post from 2021 by Stephanie Toliver, sharing what they love about the NCTE Annual Convention.

    I attended my first NCTE Annual Convention in the fall of 2016. A new PhD student who had never attended a conference in her life, I was nervous, scared of being the lone attendee who had no networking skills and had no academic friends to meet up and get coffee with. The first day, I hid myself, an invisible ghost walking among the vibrant conferencegoers, hoping that no one noticed I was there. I sat through a few sessions, but I wasn’t sure what to do while there—Do I take notes? Do I ask questions? Is it polite to ask the person next to you what those acronyms mean? Is it polite to speak at all?

    Sitting in the corners of vibrant, joyous conference rooms, I wondered if this place was for me, if this place could be my academic home.

    That night, I called my mother because she was the only person who could ground me when my mind ventured into fanciful spaces of isolation. Her question was simple: are there any places for new people, places where you can meet people who might feel just as alone as you do?

    After pondering her question, I remembered that there was a new-member gathering the next morning. With resolve, I decided to attend, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. At the gathering, I met Anna J. Roseboro, an esteemed educator who has been a staple at the NCTE Convention for years. She told my group about aspects of the Convention I had not considered. Specifically, she told us about the American Indian, Asian/Asian American, Black, Jewish, and Latinx Caucuses, as well as the Elementary, Middle, Secondary, and College-level Sections.

    She explained that these spaces were created to connect people who had the same interests, who were located at the same teaching level, and who shared similar identity positions. She told us to watch for the scholars involved in the Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color (CNV) program, as they were leading the field in critical approaches toward English education. She alerted us to NCTE’s activism by showing us where to find the policy briefs that explore important issues affecting ELA teachers and students. That hour at the welcome breakfast changed everything for me.

    After breakfast, I googled “NCTE CNV,” browsed through the names of some of the most recent scholars on that list, and then searched for their names in the program. While perusing the Convention schedule, I noticed several names from the CNV list: Tamara Butler, April Baker-Bell, Roberta Price Gardener, Gholdy Muhammad, Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz. In name only, I didn’t know who they were, but the sessions they were leading and co-leading called to me. They talked of Black healing, Black life, Black vibrance. They called for justice, for change, for truth. They told the stories of their research, showing me that scholarly presentations could be narrative spaces. They challenged the audience to engage in self-reflection during the presentation and helped us process our reflections by having us turn and talk to our neighbors.

    One conversation with an NCTE member during breakfast led me to spaces where I felt like I belonged, where I felt like I could be a scholar, too. A few sessions at this Convention helped me to see that NCTE could be my academic home, the place I want to share my research, my stories.

    I’ve been to almost every NCTE Annual Convention since then, and every year, I am amazed by the thoughtfulness of the presentations, the increased activism in the conference calls, and the excitement on the faces of conference goers.

    I still like to find my pockets of isolation, and I still worry about my general lack of networking skills, but NCTE has provided me with a safe place to exist, a welcoming space that finds those of us who feel alone and welcomes us home.

     

    Stephanie R. Toliver is an assistant professor of literacy and secondary humanities at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Informed by her love of science fiction and fantasy texts as well as her experience as a ninth- and tenth-grade English teacher, Toliver’s scholarship centers the freedom dreams of Black youth and honors the historical legacy that Black imaginations have had and will have on activism and social change. Her academic work has been published in several journals, including Journal of Literacy Research, Journal of Children’s Literature, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, and English Journal. Her public scholarship has been featured on LitHub, Huffpost, and the Horn Book. Toliver is the 2021 recipient of the NCTE Promising Researcher Award.

    It is the policy of NCTE in all publications, including the Literacy & NCTE blog, to provide a forum for the open discussion of ideas concerning the content and the teaching of English and the language arts. Publicity accorded to any particular point of view does not imply endorsement by the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, the staff, or the membership at large, except in announcements of policy, where such endorsement is clearly specified.

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    Gaining Insight into the Realities of Our Profession

    Prepare for #NCTE22 by reading this post from 2021 by Kit Robinson, sharing what they love about the NCTE Annual Convention.

    The first time I was able to attend NCTE’s Convention, I was a junior in college. I had had the experience of serving on my college’s NCTE student affiliate as vice president and I was hungry for more. That year, the NCTE Annual Convention was held in Houston, and I was fortunate enough to receive funding from my university’s English education department to attend. If I have one wish for this post, it’s that it will motivate more college education programs to send their students to events like NCTE! Because while I always knew I was dedicated to teaching, my first time attending the Convention was what filled me with passion for the field.

    For a preservice teacher, NCTE’s Annual Convention is such a brilliant opportunity. Not only is it a hub of passion and excitement concentrated on education and content, it’s also an incredible opportunity to network and gain insight into the realities of the profession.

    Too often, twenty-somethings graduate from teacher preparation programs with no contacts or support systems in their career fields. Often, new and early educators are just expected to “kick it” on their own. However, having met and talked with English educators from across the country, I felt like I had a broad yet secure support net as I navigated the realms of student teaching, applying for jobs, and planning curriculum as a first-year teacher.

    In addition to the incredible networking and support, it was incredible to see what the profession looked like outside of theory—real-life teachers teaching teachers how to teach, and and also giving hands-on practice and recommending specific resources related to modern, relevant pedagogy!

    The NCTE Convention was the first time I had seen current, inservice teachers serve as the researchers. It was the first time I felt completely confident that I could also be in their shoes one day, with the opportunity to provide my own knowledge and learnings to pre- and early inservice teachers.

    More currently, I have continued to participate and engage in the annual NCTE Convention, as it serves a yearly role to reinvigorate me and motivate me to push the line in pedagogy and education.

    NCTE as an organization has been a hub of opportunity for myself and many others. I have had opportunities for growth and leadership as an early educator and have been able to advocate clearly for innovative educational practices and for making English curricula relevant,  applicable, and most importantly, accessible to all students.

    At the Convention every year, I am able to meet with and talk to educators from all walks and from all across the country, who inspire me to push myself to do more. Not only does the Convention help to push me further, it allows me to push my students further.

    No matter who you are as an English teacher, teacher educator, or even an educator in a related field, NCTE’s Annual Convention is the place for you. There is something for to inspire, challenge, and connect all of us.

    Kit Robinson is a third-year teacher at Aurora Central High School in Aurora, Colorado. She has experience in teaching English language arts as well as in working with multilingual students on  English language development. She is an acting board member for the Colorado Language Arts Society, the ALAN Mentorship Committee, and NCTE’s Build Your Stack.

    It is the policy of NCTE in all publications, including the Literacy & NCTE blog, to provide a forum for the open discussion of ideas concerning the content and the teaching of English and the language arts. Publicity accorded to any particular point of view does not imply endorsement by the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, the staff, or the membership at large, except in announcements of policy, where such endorsement is clearly specified.

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