Being at NCTE once again proves the point that mandatory conference attendance and professional development needs to become a prime focus if we are really going to elevate the performance of our schools.
I can’t even begin to cover the amount of dynamic, sound, invigorating and readily applicable-to-my-own-classroom-ideas that I encountered today.
From big things like learning how to better thematically connect disparate texts to one another in student friendly and intellectually smart ways to being re-energized about my choice of career paths (look, as I have said before a thousand times, teachers in America today are suffering from a crisis of morale — being the whipping boys/girls of the media as if we are the prime cause for all that ails our schools is not only unfair and inaccurate, but untrue and dispiriting as well) to encountering so many good teachers with so many good ideas in such a keenly organized venue… well, like I said, conf attendance should be mandatory in this country… instead of something so many teachers have to either beg, borrow and steal to attend – or simply miss – due to the lack of foresight by admins who rule the bean-counting roost.
I mean if we know that great teaching is one of the most effective ways to elevate student classroom performance and this entire conference is dedicated to sharing best practices (i.e. NCTE is filled with great teaching; suck as much of it up as you can while you are here because there is more than you could ever drink and only the unmotivated ever leaves thirsty) then why don’t more teachers get to attend?
Districts want better performance but they don’t want to pay for the training that will empower their teachers to deliver it.
It’s a silly cycle that we need to figure out how to break. When I look around my English Department, I realize there is not a person on staff that would not benefit immensely from being here with me… and it’s not because they are weak teachers. It’s because schools have changed, kids have changed (uh, hello — liked digitally wired and socially networked in a manner that didn’t exist as little as 5 years ago) and the world has changed.
Conferences are how you keep up.
NCTE, bay-bee!! I know I am privileged to be here — and more should enjoy the same.