Two weeks ago, I set out to attend my first National Writing Project Annual Meeting (NWPAM) and my fourth National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention. Both were in St. Louis, MO, and both provided me with a breath of fresh air in my career as an English educator.
I attended several sessions and roundtables to learn about and take note of best practices from educators from all over the country. I enjoyed talking with others about their work in classrooms and universities and about their books and writing.
One of the roundtable discussions at NWPAM was titled “Leading Professional Learning” and featured the Wyoming Writing Project. The Teacher Consultants and Directors to the site provided the audience with a new idea of self-advocacy – write a reflection letter reviewing what was accomplished and learned about after attending an event, conference, institute, professional development, etc.
The wheels began turning in my head almost immediately about how I was going to write a reflection letter about my professional adventures to St. Louis. I relayed this desire and goal to friends and colleagues. I was met with encouragement and support and began writing.
Within two days of returning from NWPAM and NCTE and prior to Thanksgiving break, I sent a letter to the administration of my building and district, my building’s English department, and I have a pending presentation to the school board next month.
Self-advocacy is new to me as a third year teacher. It is also new to my audiences as an invitation to discuss my travels to English education-related professional development.
I’m looking for effective ways to continue to share out. In this day and age, we, the teachers in the trenches, are our best forms of advocacy. If we do not share our own good news, who will? How do you reflect and share your professional travels? Let me know!