A Thank You Note to NCTE14

Dear NCTE,

This was my first time at NCTE. I just wanted to thank you for attracting and organizing such an incredible group of educators in one place. It was a gift of knowledge, passion and hope.  I attended over twenty sessions, had hundreds of conversations, heard and read thousands of words. It was an honor not only to hear expert teachers and advocates for children, but to be with so many passionate people. It fed my teacher mind and soul. There is so much to process, to write about and try out with my kiddos. But for now, a few quick words of thanks.


Thank you to those who challenge our thinking.

The powerful “what if”  seemed to pop up everywhere, and the feeling it generated was pure possibility, pure energy.


Thank you to those who heighten our awareness of what we must teach that common core might not mention explicitly.

Lester Laminack, who can make you laugh and cry in the same moment, implored us to stop using the word bully and bullying inappropriately. We are overusing and abusing the word. We need to be talking about behavior that is kind or unkind. Don’t call anything bullying unless it is bullying, otherwise when it is bullying children will get no help.  Work on the bystanders. They are either “rocket fuel or extinguishers.” If a bystander is rocket fuel, a spark will accelerate bullying. Use story as a means to step inside and stand along side the bystander and help students re write the narrative to see we have choices.


Thank you to those who say things that must be heard, again and again.

Amen. Teaching takes lots of time, patience and sometimes it breaks your heart. It wears you down. Sometimes we come up short of what we know we need to bring to the table. That is why it should be a passion, an obsession. Teaching needs to be something you love more than things.



Thank you to Vicki Vinton, Fran McVeigh, Steve Peterson and Mary Lee Hahn for pushing me to reach up and join you in presenting at NCTE. The process has changed my stance as a teacher forever.  The power of inquiry and wonder is amazing: what we notice when we just take a risk, ask our students and really listen can make a world of difference. #teacherswonder



Thank you to teachers who know teaching is about learning and pursue it with passion.

Thank you to those who have the driving desire to share their knowledge, their questions and their beliefs to grow each other and their profession for the sake of our students.


Thank you beautiful teachers.