Please Help Your Teachers Play Hookey with Us

by Leah Zuidema

Next week, a few thousand English and language arts teachers from across the U.S. will be absent from their classrooms. As parents with students in K-12 schools, we are excited about these teachers’ days away. Why? Although our kids will miss out on time with wonderful educators, we believe it’s for the best because their teachers will be immersed in learning of their own at the National Council of Teachers of English annual convention. Teachers attending the NCTE convention join for up to four intense days of sharing best practices and learning from experts in the field. These days of professional development will be significant opportunities to learn more about teaching the English language arts while also fueling teachers’ passion and encouraging them in their work.

NCTE is good for teachers–and ultimately, good for students. From our standpoint, the teachers’ few days away (and the expenses for the conference and travel) are something that we are more than happy to support. We hope that schools and parents will offer their support, too.

Principals, parents, co-workers, and school boards can support teachers by:

  • Encouraging teachers to take advantage of opportunities like NCTE.
  • Providing funding for convention and travel expenses.
  • Making arrangements for great substitute teachers.
  • Thanking teachers for taking time away from their families and preparing well for their days away from the classroom.
  • Showing interest in hearing from teachers when they return (personally as well as in newsletters or presentations).
  • Affirming teachers when they apply what they’ve learned…..and encouraging them to present their own ideas at future conventions.

Teachers unable to attend NCTE this year can still get a taste of the convention via Twitter (#ncte2014 and #teachwriting). The #ncte2014 thread should be especially active from November 20-23, 2014. We also hope you will gather with us at a future convention. NCTE and CEE provide a professional home to all of us who work on the Writers Who Care blog: NCTE offers resources and support for teachers of English, and CEE serves those engaged in the preparation, support, and continuing education of teachers of English language arts / literacy. (Note that the biannual CEE summer conference will convene in New York on July 6-9, 2015.) There are many organizations that bring educators together to share and to learn, and we warmly encourage you to find a professional home.

Picture reads, "Annual Convention NCTE, Washington, DC 2014"

For teachers and other educators attending NCTE 2014, we want to draw your attention to several writing-related events that may interest you–including a chance to work with us on writing for this blog or another outlet that interests you.

We are eager to see you in Washington, D.C.! While you are at NCTE, please think about the one idea you’d like to share with colleagues and community members at home–and write up an entry (250-750 words) to share as a post to the Writers Who Care blog. We’d love to hear from you, and it’s a great way to share the experience with those who couldn’t attend!
Leah A. Zuidema is an editor for Teachers, Professors, Parents: Writers Who Care. She has taught high school and college English, and now serves at Dordt College as Associate Provost and Dean for Curriculum and Instruction. One of her ongoing interests is supporting teachers in their work by connecting them with important resources–including other teachers.

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