Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Taking Inventory On What It's All About - Appreciating What Its Been About Thus Far

It is Tuesday and that means a marathon day: meetings beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m., followed by back to back graduate courses, followed by a drive home, only to sleep and be on the road at 7 a.m. to head to the airport.  You know the schedule is tight when you pack your bags for travel three nights in advance. I hope I like what I thought might be good to wear.

Actually, I'm writing today simply to take stock on the NCTE/NWP conference that just was, and the LRA conference that soon-will-be. Interestingly,  I located one of the collaborative Art projects I often assign to my graduate students and remembered, "Snap! I still need to find a frame for this puppy." Anyone have a 5 x 8 frame? The piece has been under my bed for three years and, when the project is finished, it will join the other Skills4Life art pieces from the last few years and the ones still to be created. integrity, focus, self-awareness, self-esteem, sense-of-humor, responsibility, and Ubuntu. This is year five of the project and I have two more years to go. I am proud of myself for sticking with it.

In the meantime, Alan Brown of Wake Forest sent me the photograph below where I was presenting at the Sports and Literacy symposium in DC. Although I wasn't officially on the program, I was invited by Dr. Brown because he and I worked together at LSU for the Young Adult Literature Conference. He needed someone last minute to fill in and I was thrilled to have the opportunity. It was a highlight of my trip, talking about the literacy work being promoted by Hoops4Hope.

But, now I'm getting ready to head to Marcos Island, Florida, will I will present more research on the in and out of school literacies of relocated refugees from Africa and the Writing Our Lives Conference work I've brought with me from Syracuse University to southern Connecticut. Both of these research projects began in CNY, so a highlight of the Literacy Research Association Conference is the reunion with those who invested so much unto me while I was a doctoral student. LRA is a Syracuse affair.

I've  teased my cousin, too, when he invites me to go to S. Africa and Zimbabwe  that I don't have a need to go to Africa because Africa has come to me. The truth is, I'd rather spend my limited resources on the young people who are relocated to the United States so that they find academic achievement in this country. It's the same thing I said last spring when I was invited to do professional development in Tanzania.
Why would you spend all that money to send me there? With that sort of money I could do amazing things with the young people I'm working with here. I tell you what...rather then spending money on me, why don't you select a phenomenal teacher from the schools in Tanzania and send them to the Connecticut Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute. I'd rather invest in their experience of the United States than my sojourn over there. I know it will happen, but the time isn't right. I can't justify that amount of money when I'm seeing so many young people in schools down the road from where I live that have tremendous needs, too. Why don't we take the resources it would take to get me there and invest in the Ubuntu needed in Bridgeport? That would be ethically better.
Andthis is where my brain is before I depart once again (another expense I wish I could trade for helping young people). Instead, I will go and hear many talk about social justice while knowing that each of us spent $1500 for the 20-minute presentations we give. It's crazy....but while in Rome, I must be a Roman professional).

Actually, I'm thankful. And every time I travel this way I feel more drive to do what is morally right in the communities where I live. Think Globally, Act Locally. That's my philosophy. There's so much I still need to pay forward.

1 comment:

  1. I thought your comments at the Town Hall were more than appropriate. It is more than just the conference but national priorities as well. Think about RTTT and CCSS assessment. 350 million dollars spent to prove what we already know.

    Then as part of GEAR UP, where we strive to get first generation schools to look past high school we have to beg for funds.

    I think these scholarly conferences do matter though. It allows us to push back and have a call to arms.