I just returned from our state reading conference, CCIRA, and what an immersion in all things focusing on students and teachers, teaching and literacy! I experienced both kinds of exercise from Thursday on, walking for my body while listening, talking and reading for my brain! I had the pleasure of seeing authors and talking with different exhibitors about books and about reading ideas they promoted through their materials. This time, I want to focus on a couple of emotional highs that connected to the blogging community too, because I believe after reading your words for many months that you are these kinds of teachers I write about below.
Patricia Polacco spoke about life journeys, particularly her journey.
Her original “keeping quilt” is now displayed in a museum, but some in her family researched for vintage fabric, and re-created that exact quilt for her for a recent birthday gift. She showed this new quilt and wore it while reading some parts of her books! She had much love to offer to teachers everywhere who take good care of those students who need "noticing". Of course, she was thinking of Mr. Falker, wasn't she?
And, I saw Lynda Mullaly Hunt, a marvelous presenter who spoke of ‘hiding’ in school, not wanting teachers to know she couldn’t read and that she had such a miserable homelife. (Sadly, I was so mesmerized I forgot a photo.) But-she found she could read, was very smart, and until a 6th grade teacher came to her and gave her a book (The Cay by Theodore Taylor), she felt she was lost. Lynda emphasized the love and respect she has for teachers (she has been a teacher, too), and reminded us of the impact one small gesture a teacher makes. She remembers a teacher in her younger years asking to hold her hand on the way to lunch, and felt “finally” that someone had noticed her. A quote she gave us toward the end of her session: “It’s not who you think you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.” In her generosity, she shared, and gave away, tons of business cards that she has used as a teacher, for writing quick little notes to students. Here’s a photo of a few. Isn’t that a terrific idea!
I was so inspired by Lynda's talk that at the end I raced to the bookstore to purchase another One For The Murphy's (I gave my first copy to our library) so I could ask her to autograph it! If you haven't read the book, you must!
I was going to write a post full of short notes from all those sessions I attended, and I will certainly share more in the future, but then I arrived home Saturday night, and read my blogger friend Carrie Gelson's post that day. Carrie writes at There's A Book for That and probably has boosted my book expenditures a hundred fold, but through the months I've been reading her posts, I also have come to know she's a wonderful teacher. She is the teacher that Patricia Polacco and Lynda Mullaly Hunt spoke about last week. You can read Carrie's words here, and they are so important, if I may borrow her words, "The Part That Is True".
My excitement in anticipating this conference was well-founded, don't you agree?