Lessons for NCTE 2013

This was my first attendance at NCTE, and I am hooked. Already planning to go next year. Plus, it’s in Boston! Culture! Bookstores! Art museums! Bookstores! Coffee shops! Bookstores!

  1. Write a reflection every day. I thought I would be able to remember everything and reflect later. Ha! Four days later, I can’t even make sense of some of my notes, and what I didn’t take notes on, I don’t remember at all.
  2. Take photographs. I spent the first three days lamenting that I didn’t bring my camera. Then I remembered that I have an iPad. With a camera. Sitting in my hotel room. Which I never used.
  3. Wear flats. Fabulous shoes have their place, but I have decided that place is not the NCTE conference.
  4. Collect more contacts. I had a lot of brief stimulating conversations with teachers from all over the country. And then I moved on. I should have been asking, do you blog? Are you on twitter? How can I get in touch with you and hear more about your classroom?
  5. Ask more questions. In many of those conversations, I spent too much time talking about what I do now and what I did then. People ask how I ended up in South Dakota and then I tell them, and before you know it, we’ve spent twenty minutes talking about teaching on the reservation. People are very interested in Pine Ridge, and I love to spread the good word, but I don’t learn by talking. I learn by listening.
  6. Don’t be shy about introducing myself to my own paperback mentors. I am always worried about coming off too fangirl, but I think most of my paperback mentors will be able to handle my squee.
  7. Consider leaving on Sunday. The Post-Convention Workshops looked so interesting that I registered and arranged to stay for one, but by the end of the day on Sunday, I felt like I had absorbed as much as I could possibly absorb and I was ready to go home and sleep and eat some fruit and reflect.

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