Ok. It's been more than a week since my feet came back down to the ground after the end of NCTE.
Why so long until this reflection?
Well, I've actually started three separate "creative" reflections.
An NCTE acrostic, an NCTE recipe and “How the week after NCTE is like the day after Thanksgiving.”
Here are those beginnings.
Newbery Award-Winning Books and Authors
Nationally Recognized Speakers
New books to be signed by authors
Nerdy Book Club gatherings
Nervously approaching numerous teacher/author heroes
Navigating my way through the skyway system
Caldecott Award-Winning authors
Cameras full of “once in a lifetime” photos of authors, books and educator friends
Capacity-filled auditoriums, anxiously awaiting awesomeness
Catching book fever!
Celebrating the acquisition of an abundance of ARCs
Collapsing each night from exhaustion (and with a smile on my face)
Community-building with fellow book nerds
Confirming why I love teaching English
Talking with people I’ve only ever tweeted with
Tirelessly (and happily) lugging my bulging bags of books
Traversing the Minneapolis Convention Center to attend the many excellent sessions
Targeting sessions that either meet my fan girl needs or my teaching needs (or both)
Enjoying dinner with Kelly Gallagher & new friends, and hors d’oeuvres with Nerdy Book Club members
Educating myself on how to get the best out of NCTE
Emotional connections with Edu-heroes
Engaging in book conversations while waiting in author-signing lines
Escaping the “real world” by immersing myself in this fantasy
Exceeding my wildest expectations
Exercise for the body, the mind and the soul
Recipe for NCTE 2015
Famous/published Children's and YA authors
Administration interested in expanding their staff’s mindsets (and classroom libraries)
Lots and lots of new and well-loved books and series
Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs)
Invite all ingredients to the Minneapolis Convention Center for three engaging days and three eventful nights, November 19-22, 2015. Let the ingredients stir themselves up however they want. Watch the magic happen. Repeat in 2016.
How the week after NCTE is like the day after Thanksgiving
Both leave you stuffed (full of ideas).
Both cause you to feel exhausted from all of the visiting and talking (about books).
Both generate lots of leftovers (books for book talks and for passing along to students).
Both lead to happiness because of the wonderful time you had.
Both leave you wanting to do it all over again, although realizing that we need to focus on the rest of the holiday season (school year).
Both create new (teacher and author) friendships.
Both lead to slight frustration when looking at other attendees’ pictures. Despite what you experienced, there's someone who had a dish (connected with an author) you did not, leaving you slightly envious.
Both make you wish that Thanksgiving (and NCTE) could happen more than once per year.
In my case, both made me happy that my drive there and back was close.
I'm not really happy with any of those ideas because I was trying too hard to capture the magic of NCTE with some type of gimmick or cute idea.
That was my mistake. There’s no need for gimmicks or cute ideas.
NCTE needs none of that.
NCTE is amazing, plain and simple.
No need for name dropping...my PicCollages say it all.
No need for recaps of each session. Look at those pictures and you’ll know they were incredible.
No need for rationale supporting how NCTE reignites an English teacher's passion for teaching, reading, writing and speaking. Ask anyone who was there. Read their blogs...their tweets...their FB posts.
No need for an explanation about NCTE's impact on my students. The excited looks on their faces as they tore into books with wild abandonment was enough for me. They reap the benefits of having a connected teacher.
No need for any more words to describe my first NCTE experience. Words don't do it justice.
Thanks to my principal and district for supporting my NCTE attendance, and celebrating my first time presenting (with the wonderful Erik Palmer and Dave Stuart, Jr.). Thanks to the many incredible Twitter and Facebook educator friends I met face to face. Thanks to my family (especially my son, who turned 18 the Saturday of NCTE) since they carried on without me for four days while I lived out my dream. Thanks to my home state of Minnesota for hosting NCTE...my commute couldn't have been easier.
Thanks, NCTE 2015!