Monday, November 21, 2016

Goodbye #NCTE16 and Thank You, Atlanta, For Sharing Your City With All Us Literacy Peeps

It felt great to sponsor these six teachers at this year's NWP Annual Meeting and NCTE Conferences - an investment easy to make in celebration of the CWP-Fairfield accomplishments. In total, we targeted our conversations towards seven demonstration/presentations/ and workshops between the two conferences. Several years ago, Jean Wolph of the Louisville writing project took me under her wings and introduced me to the art of the national conversation. Now, it feels great to do the same for Connecticut teachers I'm fortunate enough to work with along the Long Island Sound.

We presented on LRNG work with the Innovative Educator work funded by John Legend, National Writing Project, and McArthur foundation. We offered insight on using YA novels/sports texts with refugee and immigrant youth. We highlighted Young Adult Literacy Labs at Fairfield University and also addressed yearlong, collaborative projects with ESL classrooms in the city of Bridgeport. In short, the teacher leaders had opportunities to be even greater teacher leaders (even being inspired to submit chapters for various writing projects my national colleagues introduced to them).

I love the photo taken in my hotel room because they were rather subdued and calm for this photo - it doesn't capture the tomfoolery that followed or the wild, energetic, we need to have a great time, release that soon followed. I kept telling them that I felt like I was the chaperone and they were my middle and high school students wanting nothing to do with the chaperone.

They deserved the week in Atlanta, though. Teaching is hard work and educators seldom get a ticker tape parade or round of applause. The collaboration with professionals across the nation was all the celebration they needed. They are energized. They are excited. They are ready for the incredible work ahead.

And we all made it home safe - at different times, from different angles, and with varying levels of exhaustion. Here's to them. Here's to CT schools. Here's to all of us together.

In a week of giving thanks, I'm definitely thankful for this wonderful group of teachers.

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