Welcome to sunny Orlando, where it’s a balmy 75 degrees and you can easily spot the NCTE attendees because they’re the only adults not accompanied by children. There are also some tell tale signs like folks carrying canvas bags labeled “Reading Recovery” with their heads bowed in their books. (My neighbor is reading a YA book, The Stone Goddess by Minfong Ho, for her multi-ethnic literature course at University of Texas, Arlington. Have you read it?)
On the flight out, I sat next to an instructional coach from Ballou High School, in Washington, D.C., who was also headed to Orlando for the convention. She told me that the row of teachers to her right were once her former students when she taught at another high school in the District. We got to talking about her school, which I happened to know was in turnaround. It’s a tough school, in a tough neighborhood. I’d read that her principal was headed out the door. When I asked her about him, she said, “He must have said the magic words to [Michelle] Rhee [the former chancellor of the Washington, D.C., school system], because he’s still there.” It turned out she was sitting in the wrong seat, so our conversation ended abruptly.
Her seat was then occupied by an adjunct professor in early literacy at American University. Also headed to NCTE with her seven-month old (O.K., some educators brought their children) and husband, she and I chatted about everything from first-year teacher burnout (can’t something be done about this?) to reading choice (she’s for it and it’s why she chose to move from teaching 3rd grade to 2nd—just to get away from teaching-to-the-test stress. By the way, have you read Kelly Gallagher’s Commentary, “Why I Will Not Teach to the Test,” on edweek.org?)
That’s it for now. The shuttle bus is on the way to the convention ...
Stay tuned for more updates convention-side.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.