yAs I usually do this time every year, I just attended the annual convention of the National Council of Teachers of English, held this year at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort (in --you guessed it--the happiest place on Earth). I've been coming to these conference since I began my teaching career, and they never disappoint. For those of you who aren't English teachers, I won't burden you with the all the professional topics. (Those I'll be posting at http://alabamatarheel.wordpress.com.)
I will be telling you about the book-related sessions, conversations, and exhibits in my next few posts--as soon as I get home and unpack my book of notes.
Since the outgoing NCTE president Carol Jago is one of the most voracious, passionate readers I know, one thread that ran through this conference was the value of literature to our lives. At these kinds of sessions, one is likely to hear talk of pedagogy, assessment, empowerment--all the education jargon--and I won't downplay the importance of good sound teaching practice. But when people were talking about about reading, they came alive.
Suffice it to say that my shoulders are aching now from carrying bags loaded with my last-minute book acquisitions from my last loop through the exhibit hall. I have others in a box en route to my house and others in the back seat of my friend and fellow-conference-goer Jane's car (assurance that we have to meet somewhere between my house and Durham soon for the hand off.) One of the most fun parts of the conference each year is the exhibit hall, where most of the major publishers show. Sure, there are lots of textbook publishers and other educational companies there, but lots of the books are the ones we want to read for our own pleasure.
I leave the conference each year not only with a renewed sense of purpose but with a reading list that could easily carry me through to next November.
Coming soon: Readers Ourselves Booklist and Author Sightings