After the session, about a dozen folks headed to find a place to sit and talk. Now there was a REAL community. We spent 90 minutes or so talking about books, reading, CCSS, AR, tech, Vegas, and so much more. This is the community I value more than any other: colleagues who are intelligent and passionate and dedicated. This is what I would want the media who bash education to see: here in the midst of Sin City with the casino right around the corner, here were teachers talking about how to make the classroom a better place for kids.
I commented a couple of weeks ago about the importance of finding time to engage in these side conversations. We need time to talk to our colleagues from all corners of the US (and beyond) about how best to create classroom communities that foster reading and writing for a lifetime. And so many of us travel long distances and pay for our own fees and such to interact with other teachers, to listen to authors and educators, to celebrate our profession.
I might never have the chance to be a part of the same community that sprang up yesterday. Members will come and go as schedules dictate. However, I know that when several of us gather, a new community forms. We are bound, you see, by more than just the fact that we are teachers. We are bound by shared passions and interests. Mostly we are bound by our sincere love of our students and the desire to do what is best for them in spite of the mandates handed down by people far removed from the day to day workings of classrooms.
If you are here at #ncte12, I hope we connect in a community. If you are not here, please connect via the hashtag and join in the online community. Now, I am off to see what communities I can build next.