- connecting with LeAnn who up until Wednesday I only knew through her Slice of Life posts on Two Writing Teachers
- sharing ideas with teachers and presenters eager to learn and excited about teaching
- the beautiful view of the Lake of the Ozarks from the patio of my hotel room
- technology expert Jason who checked on us several times during our presentation and helped resolve a problem (and the teacher who found him when we needed him most)
- listening to Chris Lehman talk about the importance of noticing reader behaviors in young students and thinking about how to move them forward
- the opportunity to share conversation with Teri Lesene
- discovering a new YA author, Heather Brewer, who sometimes approaches writing tasks as I do – rolling around ideas in her head before they are set down on paper
This is a time when many schools and districts are hesitant to provide the resources teachers need to attend conferences for professional development. But the opportunity to network with other educators, hear quality presentations, and walk away with fresh new ideas is just what most teachers need. It can be a shot in the arm, even for a veteran teacher like me who no longer enters a classroom on a daily basis, but who continues to learn on a daily basis.
I urge everyone to look for the hidden gems of professional development that might be happening soon near you – an opportunity to hear an author, a program of a local professional organization, a conference day. It’s a great way to keep fresh and energized! And if you are from PA, please consider joining me in Lancaster this coming October for the Keystone State Reading Association’s Annual Conference.
Thank you, Missouri WTL 2015.