BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Fangirl

I got the opportunity to attend the annual Arizona English Teachers Association conference yesterday, and it was fantastic. Yes, I learned things in the breakout sessions. Yes, I connected with other teachers from around the state. Yes, I felt that I had some ideas to contribute to the discussions. Yes, I saw some colleagues I hadn’t seen in quite a while. All of that would have been worth it, but none of that was the highlight.

For me, the highlight was hearing some of my favorite authors speak, especially the marvelous Meg Medina. Her keynote presentation was fantastic, and she shared with us so much about her own upbringing and her childhood and teen years. It was fascinating to listen to her experiences, and how they related to the experiences she wrote for her characters, especially in her award winning novel Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass.

If you haven’t had a chance to read Ms. Medina’s work, what are you waiting for? She’s also the author of Burn Baby Burn and two picture books, Mango, Abuela, and Me, and Tia Isa Wants a Car. Additionally, she has a short story included in the collection Flying Lessons, where she’s in very good company with the likes of Walter Dean Myers, Kwame Alexander, Matt de la Peña, and other phenomenal writers. She was gracious, engaging, and fully present throughout the event, participating in round table discussions and sharing her perspective. It was a pleasure and honor to meet her and learn from her.

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I also had the pleasure of enjoying a panel of local writers of middle grade and young adult books. They are a thoughtful group, and are so generous with their time and talent. Several of them have volunteered to teach workshops with my summer writers in the past, and two more enthusiastically agreed to teach next summer. The willingness of the writers in this community to share their experiences and knowledge is so impressive and appreciated.

Conferences like this one are inspiring to me, both as a teacher and as a writer. I feel fortunate to have had the experience.


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I’m Going to the Show!

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Well, not really a show. A conference. Two of them actually, back to back.

I’m going to St. Louis to the National Writing Project Conference, followed by the National Council of Teachers of English Conference. NWP and NCTE, for short.

Am I excited? You bet!

Am I nervous? Ditto!

You see, I’m supposed to present a round table discussion at NWP. I’ve never done this before. Not successfully, anyway. I’ve never even been to a big conference before. I have done a breakout session at our state conference, but only one person wandered in. By mistake. She thought I was someone else. To my shame, I didn’t graciously let her go. I forged ahead with my presentation anyway, no doubt wasting her time. You see, I was an elementary level presenter at a conference full of high school educators. Maybe not the best fit.5124Osj9s0L.jpg

At NWP however, my topic extends into middle school, and there’s a much larger audience. Maybe more than one person will stray my way. Maybe even some people who are actually interested in my topic. It could happen.

The flip side is that I’ll get the chance to be a starry-eyed kid for the rest of the time, tracking down some of my literacy idols and gathering up pearls of knowledge. I’m especially geeked to hear from Jacqueline Woodson and Rick Riordan, both authors that my students and I adore.

I’m excited for November to come rolling around so I can finally get to St. Louis.

 


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Sucking the Energy Right Out of Me

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No, I don’t read Asian newspapers or drink tea in a tumbler, but this is too cute.

What is it?

The Heat?

The kids?

Getting up to an alarm clock even though my body desperately wants to sleep in?

Knowing that soon I’ll be on vacation for real?

I’m not sure exactly what it is, most likely a combination of all of the above, but for some reason when I get home in the afternoon, after teaching my young writers (for just three hours) I’m totally drained. I try to do something productive, like write, or do laundry, or even just read a book, but before long I’m nodding off. UGH.

I get to bed at a reasonable hour, so why I am so tired mid-day? And why is it only when I’m home alone and have the opportunity to actually accomplish so much?

Am I running from my responsibilities? Am I hiding from something I don’t want to face? Am I afraid to be alone, so I escape into sleep? I’m pretty sure the answers to those questions are no, no, and no. I’m just freaking tired.

My first guess is that it really is the heat. Carrying around all this extra weight in extreme temperatures is hard on a body. I do my best to stay hydrated and keep cool, but I think my body is fighting back, and what better way to conserve energy than to sleep?

On Friday my summer work comes to a close, and I have a few weeks of pure relaxation. I’m heading east, away from the hellfire of my chosen Southwest home, and I couldn’t be happier. In the meantime, I’m going to keep waiting until after dark to jump in the pool, and keep myself as cool as possible. After all, I chose this, and no matter what, it still beats snow any day of the year.