NCTE Day 3 (Saturday) Notes/Reflections

Standard

After a short sleep, I woke up this morning at probably 5:50 to another roommate’s trash-can lid sound emitting from his iPhone.  It might have been a gong.  Either way, it did the trick…for me.  I wasn’t upset about being up because I had wanted to get to the convention as early as possible.  A friend had a poster session that began at 8.  With a bagel in my belly, I hit the road with my Chestnut Praline Latte and got there around 8:20.  It was good to see my colleague, and I was inspired by her work and our brief catch-up chat.  More on that in a moment.

Let me speak to the exhibit hall of my convention.  I know thousands of English teachers under one roof sounds, perhaps, like a raucous group of activists who bleed red ink, but the people I spoke to while in lines or at tables were some of the most genuine and funny people I’ve ever met.  They love books; they love teaching; they love sharing stories.

I caught the end of a session on blogging for teachers, and I learned about two pretty well known sites:

twowritingteachers.wordpress.com

and

writerswhocare.wordpress.com

Everyone I spoke to at these sessions felt these blogs were among the best going for teacher-writers.  I had not considered writing about my profession; I have decided that will be coming soon.

This leads me to my day’s highlight!

Just after the session with the bloggers, the same room was used for a session entitled “Meet the Editors.”  These editors were from NCTE’s journals.  In short, attendees had a chance to learn submission guidelines and pitch ideas for upcoming issues.  I was able to speak to a column editor for English Journal, who gave me very positive feedback about an idea I have for a column.  At the same table were the chief editors, and I spoke with one of them who identified with my concept and also encouraged me to write it!  I’m going to start on it soon and submit it.  I might have a real shot, folks!

Anyway, it was a great day overall.  I met a few more authors (including Cory Doctorow, above) picked up about 8-10 more books for my classroom, and left the conference feeling rejuvenated and excited about my profession!  While I may not be able to attend each year, I do hope to attend again in the coming years.  Who knows…maybe I’ll be one of the authors this time!

Advertisements

Notes about Old Town Alexandria

Standard

I asked Siri where the closest sushi place was after today’s sessions at the NCTE conference.  She directed me to the historic district of Alexandria, Virginia.  I must admit my geographic ignorance because I failed to realize I would be able to check off Maryland and Virginia from my States Never Visited List.  That list doesn’t actually exist, but I know I hadn’t been there.

Anyway, I ended up at a place called Ichiban.  At a quarter to six, there were more employees than diners.  My presence did not change that.  The family consisted of a gray-haired man, his wife, and their (probably) eight-year-old son.  It was a fun preview for my life, in a way!

I ordered a hot tea, which reminded me of Cracker Barrel.  It’s been a little cold here–more windy than anything–and the tea offered a cozy balance to the temperatures outside.

The sushi was on special until 6:30, so of course I ordered too much.  I’d only eaten a bagel at breakfast and a bowl of chili at lunch.  I splurged, but was able to get three rolls and a red snapper appetizer for $16.50!  It was (presumably) fresher than anything I’d had in Indiana, and it was very tasty.

But enough about what I ate.  No one really cares, right?  I do want to tell you, devoted reader, about the Historic District of Alexandria.  Go there.  It’s so quaint and endearing!  Brick buildings, brick roads, brick cheese (probably), and numerous specialty shops and restaurants.  Fellas, they have a cigars and whiskey lounge with live music every night!  Ladies, there are cute places like Three Sisters and a lingerie shop as well.  I popped in a few knick-knacky places that had loads of Christmas decor.  There was a (surprisingly busy) ice cream shop, a Starbucks, and a Gentleman’s Quarters where, if I had wanted, I could have had a close shave, a neck massage, a manicure or all (for a lot of money, unfortunately).

Between dinner and browsing, I was probably there two hours, but I could have stayed longer–I believe I only saw a little bit of King Street!

#NCTE14 Experience (Day 1-ish)

Standard

It has been about seven or eight years since I last had the opportunity to attend the NCTE national convention.  It was the year Indianapolis hosted.  This year the convention is in Washington, D. C. which is also where, coincidentally, many US Presidents have lived.

It’s probably as good a time as any to explain that this is horrendous writing and merely for my own amusement.

Anyway, the convention center (Gaylord National Resort) is a gorgeous building that reminds me of absolutely nothing from my childhood.  There are a few sessions this afternoon, but the real craziness begins Friday.  I have a added the app, hashtagged appropriate lines on my LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  I’ve even blogged about the first day before the day really began!

I came alone, but I’m not shy.  My wife says I’m not so much “friendly” to strangers as much as I am “creepy.”  I’m hoping to learn a lot from this experience.  I made business cards.

In the 18 hours or so since I’ve landed, I’ve really enjoyed my time in the capital.  I miss my family immensely, but I plan to stay alive long enough to see them again Sunday afternoon.

Enjoy the convention, everyone!