This post was written by NCTE first-time Convention attendee Denise Loeber.
Photo is the author and the friend she met on the airplane heading to the Convention, Michelle Commert.
If you want to know what it is like to attend an NCTE Convention; think Disney World for teachers. I took a leap of faith and traveled alone last November from Connecticut to California in hopes of gaining tips and techniques to enhance my teaching practices. I was pleasantly surprised that I not only walked away with best practices for the classroom, but lasting friendships as well.
My journey actually began on the airplane at JFK airport. I boarded a packed plane and took my seat along the aisle. I’m a people watcher, so I watched as many passed me by. Then a bright-eyed and cheerful girl slowly stopped beside me and said, “I think I have the middle seat.” After a few minutes of pleasantries, we both realized we were headed to the NCTE conference in Anaheim: me as an attendee and she as a speaker/presenter. We talked for six straight hours. A year later, I am grateful for her and the many opportunities NCTE provides to connect teachers from all over the nation.
The first thing that caught my attention and greatly encouraged me was the enormity of the conference. As I scanned the crowd on opening night, I felt a sense of pride for myself and for all the teachers and educators sitting around me. Being an educator is not only about teaching; the real beauty lies within the relationships you make along the way. Each day we enter our classrooms and join a community whose main desire is to make the world a better place for students. NCTE provides so many opportunities to meet new people and connect.
Not only was I impressed by the enormity and professionalism of the event, I also found there to be a plethora of offerings. The theme “¡Seunos! – Pursing the Light” was a fitting title. Each class I attended enlightened me; pushing me toward making my classroom a more equitable place. The first session I attended, “Connecting Reading and Writing to Student Identities: Bringing the Outsiders In,” provided me with practical lesson ideas. I teach Hinton’s The Outsiders and was able to bring back ideas to help students connect with their identities. “Literacy Escape: Using Classroom and Digital Escape Rooms to Engage Students” was another session I attended. This workshop highlighted the importance of engaging students in the learning process and providing alternative options for summative assessment.
NCTE is an outstanding Convention. They aim for excellence through their speaker/teacher choices. I am grateful for the opportunity to have attended such an amazing event.
Denise Loeber has been in private education for the past 20 years and currently teaches middle school English and ancient civilizations at the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Connecticut. In her free time she enjoys pursuing her passion for writing
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