Every November the National Council of Teachers of English hosts a convention where thousands of educators, experts, authors, administrators, publishers, and more travel to Baltimore, Maryland to attend workshops, listen to keynote speakers, make presentations, etc.
For the past four years, professor Shelly Shaffer has had the honor of taking a few of her students as presenters for the convention’s round table event “The Future is Now: Exploring 21st-Century Teaching Ideas with the Next Generation of English Teachers”
Each table has different roundtable presentations that explore 21st-century teaching ideas and research-driven pedagogical practices. Students put together a 10-12 minute presentation across a broad spectrum of categories and this year Kilee Wilson and Alison LaFrance presented Picture Books Past the Primary Grades and Autumn “Zoe” Romero presented Going Bare Bones: Double the Language, Double the Fun.
Going to the NCTE conference was a truly amazing experience! …I was completely immersed in literacy for the entire week… I learned new strategies to teach reading and writing that I cannot wait to use in my future classroom.
Student Stories: A look back at their experience
I would have to say that going to the NCTE conference was a truly amazing experience! A once in a lifetime experience that I am extremely grateful for. At this conference, I was completely immersed in literacy for the entire week, which was absolutely amazing. At the various sessions I attended, I learned new strategies to teach reading and writing that I cannot wait to use in my future classroom with my future students.
Additionally, having the opportunity to meet so many different authors was truly the icing on the cake. Meeting them to me made their stories so much more real and
personable. For example, after meeting John Green and hearing he had similar struggles and mental issues as me in middle school, it changed how I view him and his novels. These authors that we idolize are normal people just like you and me but have the artistic ability to create beautiful literature.
I even had the opportunity to present on a topic I am passionate about (Picture Books Past the Primary Grades) with my fellow colleague and friend Kilee Wilson. We have even been asked to publish our research and present it to other college classes through Zoom. Being able to present reminded me that although I am still young and new to the education world, I still have valuable ideas that are important.
Overall, I am so thrilled to have gone to Baltimore and attend this conference. Being surrounded by other literacy lovers made the experience as a whole amazing. Being around people that have the same passion as you helps drive that passion. That is what happened to me. Coming home, I have an even larger love for literacy, I just want to read, and I cannot wait to teach my future students in ways I learned that will help grow their love of literacy too.
I am forever grateful for this opportunity, and because of it, I will be a better teacher in the future!
As a literacy elementary education major, I spend a lot of time reading books, working with kids and collaborating with other pre-service teachers. When I first heard of The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) conference a year and a half ago, I knew I had to be a part of it during my senior year. After all, what educator doesn’t like to mingle with other educators and make new friends all while learning?!
From the beginning my partner, Alison, and I made a plan to present; and we worked hard and made this small adventure happen! It was a lot of late, late nights, extra research and endless amounts of time; nevertheless, we made it! On November 20th we landed in Baltimore, Maryland and were more than ready to take on NCTE! It was six long days of tired feet and happy smiles, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way! I personally had so many takeaways there is not time nor space to write them all down! The biggest and most important takeaways of this conference for me were: the allotted time to work with other educators and participate in group discussions, time to listen to authors speak and the platform to build a network for my future career. In addition, I also received hundreds of new books, of all levels, for my future classroom…at zero cost!
I went into this conference knowing that it would change my outlook on education, but little did I know what a lasting impact it would really leave on me personally. I can not say enough great things about the people I met, the experiences I had and the new ideas I walked away with. I can only hope that at one point in all educators’ careers that they will be able to attend NCTE. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Shelly Shaffer presented me over a year ago. I am forever grateful for the support of my department, my school, and my family. Without their financial help and their dedication I would not have had the pleasure to speak at the Future is Now session or even attend NCTE at all. I am very thankful for the opportunity and I look forward to attending next year as a first-year teacher!