This post was written by NCTE member Caroline Bedingfield Rabalais, reprinted with permission from ELATE-GS. They asked members what their biggest takeaways from last year’s NCTE Annual Convention were, whether they’re following up from work that was inspired or begun at NCTE, and how their experience attending the conference is bringing their work forward. Read on!
My experience at NCTE’s 2022 Annual Convention in Anaheim was an experience that I define as joyful and magical. This was my first in-person attendance at NCTE since St. Louis in 2017, and this was also my first in-person experience at a national conference as a doctoral student. I had completely forgotten the thrilling atmosphere that NCTE incites: That experience of walking into NCTE’s Annual Convention is hard to perfectly capture virtually. Disneyland being just down the street was certainly also a factor in the magical atmosphere.
The presentations from the keynote speakers were unquestionably inspiring, and the panel and roundtable presentations I attended were unforgettable. However, what I’d like to highlight in my experience are the connections I made with so many like-minded individuals and what I took away as a researcher and teacher. In a panel presentation with my advisor, we discussed queer identities entangled in education. Our entire panel and audience created a room that was welcoming, warm, and fruitful for dialogue, and it left me wondering about how I can better incorporate queer and other marginalized voices into my own classroom. I also was able to meet up with people I had only known online before. The easy comradery I had with these people I’d never actually “met” before was incredible. I walked away with my cup full and with plans to write with them about the opportunities and the felicity that virtual communities can cultivate. As a high school world literature teacher, I was also inspired to initiate more opportunities for my students to engage with multimodal learning based on the presentations I attended. My arms were full of new classroom books and my mind was, and still is, spinning with excitement. NCTE gave me a fresh outlook on my position as an educator and how I can continue to pursue the light with the people around me.
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