Why NCTE? (with rock video)

Apparently there is a video storytelling project going on at NCTE this year. We will throw down on that because… well, because video! So stay tuned.

The two ideas suggested as topics were untold stories from teaching, or ‘why do we come to NCTE?’

The why questions got us thinking and talking a lot. So I’m going to write as well as make video.

It’s our fourth (me and Doc Z) NCTE. We’re doing a presentation (K.24). You should come see us. Why do we come back?

The presentation is really about planning to do a presentation. It forces us to reflect and take time to think in a job that doesn’t allow us time to reflect or think much. It makes us focus on some aspect of our practice and unpack it. It forces us to understand. The presentation itself is just a frame for our own process. Of course, if our process can be of use to someone else so much the better.

But even the presentation is just an excuse to get us here. The real reason is VISION. Here is where the vision is. Here is where it’s tangible. We can feel it. And we need that. Being in the school, in the classroom, is tough. It will bury you. As I said above, our jobs are not structured for deep reflection, and there are many entities, both within and outside of the school trying to tell us what to do. Much of what we are being told has little to do with helping our students be better readers or writers.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad, but there is a definite drift. When your head is buried in the day-to-day you can loose track of what you are doing. Then when you finally look up you realize you are WAAAAAY of course. It happens to me, it happens to everybody I think.

So being at the conference is a way of resetting that vision. It’s been a while since someone has said something I have never heard before, but people say a lot of things that I have forgotten. And so I hear them in a new way, I am reaffirmed in my vision.

Our presentation will be the same. Yes, it is about teaching practice in a very specific way,. But mostly it is affirming our vision. Again. Because that’s what we need.

As I was writing this, a particular song popped in my head. So here you go. It seemed appropriate.

As somewhat of an aside, and placed below the video knowing many fewer people will read it, reaffirming the vision is especially difficult for me right now. I’m not actually an English teacher this year, for the first time in thirteen years. I’m currently the Dean of Students in my building (which I volunteered for BTW). I’m learning a lot about schools and teaching, which it why I wanted to try this. But I feel a long way from the classroom right now.

I need to do some reflecting on this blog about that experience, but I’ve been pretty exhausted by the experience I’m having, and exhaustion is not really conducive to reflection. So you’l have to stay tuned for more of that.

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