Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Reflections, Hugs, & Tears

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'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'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 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.


  1. I absolutely love capturing quotes! Although I did not attend NCTE, I attended the conference vicariously through social media platforms. I'm thankful for the quotes you shared this morning. Of course I have starred a few, but my favorite is your kick-off quote by Amy Ludwig VanVerwater. Looking forward to what else you will be sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing your NCTE insights ... and great to see you there in Atlanta, if only for a few moments

  3. I love, love, love that you captured quotes from your time at NCTE! I can imagine how your brain and heart must have been swimming with words. So powerful!

  4. #NCTE16 was totally transformative! So GREAT to meet you IRL!

    Love your quotes. I've been thinking about my top 10. The list is closer to 50!

  5. So great to be back in Atlanta and great to meet you face-to-face MIchelle.

  6. Anne Lamott's quote about writing speaks to me, it's all about getting started. Though our writing might not be great at the beginning, we get better by developing a habit to write. You touched on great topics, what makes us human, and our need for connectedness. We should all have opportunities like this amazing NCTE conference to grow in the ways that you describe.

  7. Thanks for sharing so much of the wisdom you brought home, Michelle. I love quotes, and you've kept many wonderful ones! I'm so glad it was a treasure of a time for you!

  8. You brought it all back, Michelle! So glad to have been able to have spent time with you at NCTE!

  9. I wish I could've seen more of you. We seemed to pass each other coming and going. I will carry the strength of these quotes with me. Such a wonderful and powerful bunch of educators!

  10. Your ear to ear smile is a hint of how wonderful the week..the words...the wisdom was!

  11. NCTE is on my bucket list! Someday we will collect inspiration together. Thank you for sharing yours!

  12. Thank you for sharing these quotes, Michelle. I love them all, especially this: "Put magic in the mundane."

  13. Your slice bursts with enthusiasm, appreciation and inspiration. I am so happy for you.


Please share your thoughts. I love comments!