Exhausted but Renewed #NCTE14

NCTE pres

After our presentation at #NCTE14, I stood in the hotel lobby talking with Penny. We’d wandered from the hallways outside our session room, meeting several teachers along the way who had attended our presentation. They complimented me on my work and told me to praise Jackie, Erika, and Shana for theirs. They told Penny how much her work meant to them, and how her ideas and presentations had shaped their teaching. This happened a lot. I felt a little like Robin to her Batman. For a heady moment.

While standing in that lobby, one particular educator grabbed my heart. She reached out to Penny, thanking her so genuinely. Tears pooled in her eyes as she said, “I almost left the profession, and then I read your books. I’ve changed, and I love teaching again.”

I couldn’t help thinking of my own situation last year. I almost left the profession, too. (I wrote about it here: Grateful November)

I almost wrote a Grateful November part 2. Something along the lines of how the NCTE conference infuses a renewal in the soul, like running through sprinklers in Texas in August. Laughing with colleagues, old and new; learning from teacher-heroes we’ve read about and learned from through books and professional development from afar; stock-piling ideas scribbled in notebooks that we cannot wait to share with students because more than anything we come here to learn how to help them learn.

Penny tweeted about her experiences at this conference:

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 5.49.45 AM

Profound shifts in thinking.

So true. And so powerful I’m taking it with me.

The memory of presenting “The Landscape of Workshop Across America” with the brilliant educators Jackie Catcher, Erika Bogdany, and Shana Karnes will keep my mind singing. They challenge my thinking regularly and help me find clarity when the chaos in my head gets too loud to hear the silence.

The memory of speaking to Katie Wood Ray in the hallway just prior to our session will keep me spinning as I continue to write.  As Shana says, “a living mentor text.” Such grace and insight. I’m acting on her counsel. [Want to join me in @lindaurbanbooks #writedaily30 challenge?]

The memory of hundreds of beautiful book covers screaming at me until I picked them up in the exhibit hall will keep me sinking into YA novels, devouring stories, so I can share them with my readers who need to devour them, too. Toomanybooksnotenoughtime.

I am exhausted but renewed.

And today I go to ALAN. If you’ve never stayed for that conference, if you love teens, books, authors, and reading, you might want to put it on your bucket list.

Blessings to you all this Thanksgiving week.

God is Good.

NCTE pres w Penny



3 thoughts on “Exhausted but Renewed #NCTE14

  1. Kara November 25, 2014 at 4:06 am Reply

    Amy, you all were wonderful and I agree that NCTE is the outlet our energy-depleted selves need. Throughout your presentation, I kept thinking about how I could teach my AP World History course differently with more reading, better thinking, and more authentic writing and fewer timed essays. The content so overwhelms my students that they have trouble getting past it to the processing. In any case, I’m inspired by seeing you all present and happy to know that I can talk with you here.


  2. jackiecatcher November 24, 2014 at 7:41 am Reply

    Thanks Shawna! Our conversation made my day–the story about that woman was inspiring and as I said before, I’m grateful she was sitting next to you! It sounds like you inspired her as well.


  3. shawnacoppola November 24, 2014 at 6:27 am Reply

    Your session was wonderful, Amy. I told Jackie how I was sitting next to a high school English teacher as you were all speaking, and she left determined to make at least a small change in her practice. She was so inspired. Bravo to you!


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