ncte-tag-2016 When a teacher leaves students to attend a professional conference, there are many anxious moments when the teacher wonders if the time away from them will be worth it…for them. Remember, teaching is about the kids — how we can help them learn and grow — and time outside the classroom is not always ideal. Teachers attend these professional learning conferences to bring back excitement of learning (for teachers and students alike!), materials and books students will use, and better ideas for an engaging and differentiated classroom atmosphere. My hope is that attending NCTE this year will be beneficial and worthwhile for my students and me.

Here’s what I plan to do in the name of students while I’m away at the NCTE Annual Conference:

*Visit the CNN Center and meet Carl Azuz, anchor of CNN Student News. We have tried to connect with no luck so far. (My students LOVE Carl’s puns!) Even though Carl is not affiliated with NCTE, he is in Atlanta, so I would love to take a picture with him!  cnn-sign

*Attend sessions like “Why Middle Matters: Powerful Teaching for our Quirky, Amazing Middle Schoolers” to learn more about helping these adolescents, especially in reading and the content areas.

*Reconnect with author friends to make sure that students realize that there are people out there who support their reading and writing efforts and even help them by giving expert advice!

*Get new books! (Including books we already discussed and new ARCs) This is the best part — taking home the goodies!

Teachers leave the classroom in order to learn and grow…in order to help kids. Some people may argue that attending professional conferences aren’t worth the time, aren’t worth the cost, or aren’t worth the hassle. I disagree. I can’t wait to get back to school and share my experiences with my students!