Friday, August 14, 2015

Invest In Yourself

     Professional development is important in any line of work. However, I believe it is vital for teachers. Let me clarify--good professional development that is meaningful, relevant to the teacher, and teacher-driven is vital for teachers. This type of experience can recharge and revitalize teachers. So when I saw that the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Convention was to be in Minneapolis this year, I decided to invest in me.
Penny Kittle with colleagues from Grand Forks at NDCTE conf.
      When opportunities to hear speakers of the quality of Penny Kittle, Kelly Gallagher and authors such as Chris Crutcher come along, well, all I can say is, sign me up. I was fortunate to hear the first two at my state conference the last two years (NDCTE). They gave me more ideas to use in my classroom than I've had from speakers in quite some time.
      With Gallagher and Kittle presenting, I know I'll come away with more ideas on ways to improve my teaching. And that's just two speakers. That doesn't include the breakout sessions.
      I know, it's not right that teachers have to pay for conferences on their own. It's not right that districts don't invest in teachers and help them attend national conferences. But don't let that be a barrier to your not attending. Granted, it takes some planning and financial investment to make a conference a reality when there is no school budget. However, in all my years of teaching (25), I've never attended a national conference in my subject area before. I've gone to two conferences, one as a presenter and one as an attendee. I figured I was overdue and with the speakers, I knew I couldn't let a chance like this pass me up.
      Yes, it's going to cost me some money. But when hasn't my profession cost something? The investment may hurt a bit, yet I believe my students are worth it. My teaching is worth it. It's time to invest in something that matters. It's time to invest in myself. And I couldn't be more excited to do so. 
       If you're an English teacher, check out the NCTE Convention November 19-22 in Minneapolis. It may take some planning and creative financing, but do it. Take the time and invest in you. You won't be sorry. I'm sure of it. 

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