My time at NCTE in Atlanta changed me. Travel does that to me. Visiting a new place and meeting new people, seeing the world through a new lens...it's overwhelming and powerful. I've needed time to marinate about my experiences before I wrote about them.
Conversations. I spent lots of time in conversations that challenged me as a teacher, as a woman, as a person...they pushed me to ask questions, to do better, to be better! One night, I had dinner at a food court in a local mall with two teacher friends. We spoke at length about the world and as we left I felt uplifted and inspired. Our experiences are so different and to get time to sit over burgers and ice cream and listen to each other...it's invaluable.
Connections. Hugs and tears. Everywhere I went, there were hugs to be given and received. Smiles exchanged and tears shed. We connected and promised to work hard to make this a world where all of our students are safe. In every session I attended, tears came from inspiration or exhaustion or awe. I felt this conference more than any other and those intense feelings have stayed with me.
Quotes. Here are some things I heard that I carry with me each day...
"Put magic in the mundane." -Jason Reynolds
"Kids need you to show up & be present." -eE Charlton-Trujillo
"We need diverse books. Write one!" -Sharon Draper
"This is teacher church." -Smokey Daniels
"Welcome home!" -Chris Lehman
"We have an obligation to have kids tell their stories." -Sara Ahmed
"My biggest job is sometimes to stop talking...to listen." -Pernille Ripp
"Listen. Trust." -Jeff Anderson
"If you're different, own it." -Lynda Mullaly Hunt
"Err on the side of the heart." -Irene Latham's mother"Amplify the light." -Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
"Look for small moments of kindness." -Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
"Holding space for children to enter and feel safe." -Laura Shovan
"I was born as a hyphen." -Margarita Engle
"Teach children that their poem can not be taken away." -Margarita Engle
"Allow students to dig for truth through poetry." -Tara Smith
"Poetry is the truth." -Katherine Bomer
"Hate bounces." - ee cummings
"With writing, you start where you are, and you usually do it poorly. You just do it-you do it afraid. And something happens." -Anne Lamott
"A poet's job is to bear witness." -Lucille Clifton
There are more...these are words from only a couple of sessions. There is so much more percolating inside of me. I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend time with great thinkers and activists who are changing the world. I'm humbled in their presence. I'm changed because of my time spent at NCTE.
To be continued...
Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.