Moving, working in a new district, and returning to a previous grade level, this past 9 months have been too busy for blogging. I’ve enjoyed my year. As I look back, I consider areas of growth and new goals (later post). My greatest improvement is confidence in my purpose in teaching. Having stayed home while my children were young, I struggled with great guilt of the time teaching pulls away from family. We’ve all felt this at some point, but I had this lingering seed questioning if the toll was too much. There was no crashing epiphany. My students simply chipped away the doubt with every comment that I “made” them enjoy reading, a smile expressing pride in reaching a new milestone, or unspoken request for a needed hug. My family also reassured me along the way. I’ve come to terms that I am a teacher and a mom and I embrace both sides with a confidence that I am where I am meant to be.
Okay, that was my Mother’s Day reflection, now for the exciting news. Every year I treat myself to a teacher conference out of town, stay a night or two, and geek out over my new experiences. This year I am going big – the International Literacy Convention in Austin for 4 days. I registered early so when I signed up for Institute Day, I chose a topic without knowing who would serve as the workshop leaders. Creating Engaged and Attentive Readers and Writers: Texts and Tools That Change How Kids Read and Write is the title that hooked me into one of the added days. That’s a mouthful. Forward a couple of months when I decided to return to the site during idle moments of internet site jumping. Family members could hear shouts of glee from other rooms as I learned that Donalyn Miller, Stephanie Harvey, and Laurie Halse Anderson would be some of the speakers. It helped that surprises and Scholastic were mentioned as well. If you are not familiar with Ms. Anderson’s work, I recommend her book Fever 1793 – a favorite historical fiction of mine. She’s also written Seeds of America trilogy with a slightly more mature tone. On Literature Day, I will learn from a panel of 3 well known authors, then meet an additional 7 with books to take home. I chose the middle grades, ages 8 – 12. Some of the authors I’ll meet: Blue Baillet, Megan McDonald, and Jonathan Stokes. I was more familiar with the Early Readers group so I wanted to stretch myself.