This post was written by NCTE member Kit Robinson.
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.
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