A bloxer (blog+Voxer) post about meeting an NCTE first time face to face Voxer family gathering, submitted by guest writer, Erica Pecorale @epecorale
Voxer Walkie Talkie Messenger is an app that helps large groups of people stay in contact with one another by leaving voice messages that can be played and replayed at the listener’s convenience. I became friends with a group of educators on Voxer. We met through our voices, sharing our educational passions, questions, and goals. Our conversations have been feeding our professional souls for the past year and have led us to count on one another’s wisdom, inspiration, professionalism, and friendship as we contemplate teaching goals, career decisions, professional development, and even personal family endeavors. This community of teachers, administrators, authors, and colleagues opened arms, brains, and hearts to one another, and we are all stronger because of it.
Our Voxer family originally came together through a collective reading of Dr. Mary Howard’s (@drmaryhoward) book Good to Great Teaching. That inspired some Twitter messages between two literacy coaches, Jenn Hayhurst (@hayhurst3) and Amy Brennan (@brennanamy), both of whom were inspired by Mary’s book. That led to the development of the weekly Thursday night #G2Great Twitter chat. From that book and Twitter chat, an inservice class shared between two Long Island, New York, school districts set up the Voxer group and its original members.
Through this social media tool, we have a platform from which we can verbally rehearse our thinking before meetings, professional development sessions, and even writing blog posts. Our Voxer family — we call ourselves Voxer cousins — has created a safe, supportive venue for sharing our worlds with one another.
As our professional sharing grew and plans for the 2015 NCTE Annual Convention in Minneapolis firmed up, we realized that 16 of our 23 Voxer cousins would be going, and 5 of us would be attending NCTE for the first time! We began excitedly planning our convention. Since we live all over the country, we couldn’t think of a more appropriate venue than the NCTE Convention for us to meet face to face for the first time.
Waiting in the hotel lobby for each member of our Voxer cousins to arrive, going through registration together, choosing conference ribbons, and being greeted at the Elementary Get-Together by some of our educational heroes such as Lester Laminack; Ralph Fletcher; Ken, Yetta, and Debi Goodman; and many others helped us to kick off the most valuable professional learning experience for literacy educators each year. Some of us were welcomed home to NCTE, bringing along with us a new extended family. The rest of us were born into a newer, larger extended one.
Erica Pecorale is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Teacher Education for Long Island University at Riverhead. She is also a Literacy Coach and consultant.