Life is certainly busy. Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the national conference for the National Council of Teachers of English in Philadelphia, PA. Hello Philly! Thank you for such a great conference.
Mom decided to travel with me. I spent my time learning about multi-modal literacies, writing about art, digital literacies, and technology, technology, and more technology. We stayed at Loews Philadelphia, an ultra modern, black slate wonder. Our 26th floor view included City Hall, which was once our Supreme Court, downtown Philly, the Convention Center, the Delaware and the art museum.
We arrived on Thursday afternoon to a foggy day. With my trench securely wrapped and tied, I checked in at the convention center. NCTE could not have made us feel more welcome. The main convention center building is actually the old Reading Terminal train station. The renovation invited me to experience turn of the century thoughts of petticoats swishing in pursuit of the right train, then I was taken into the age of Art Deco with the entrance sentinels and ballroom. Modern art hung from the expansive ceiling which reminded me of the erector sets of my brothers youth.
We enjoyed lunch at the Hard Rock Café housed in the Reading Terminal headhouse. Rock music history filled the walls and our ears while a yellow submarine swam overhead.
After lunch, Mom and I ventured seven blocks. By then, historic buildings were closed, but I did stand before Independence Hall and gazed through the glass at the Liberty Bell. I could not help but wonder if Ben Franklin, and others, had stepped where I was stepping. I may have trudged through the dung of their horses for all I know. I found my patriotism quickly. It is such a nice feeling. While I was at the conference, Mom spent the remainder of the trip exploring these places and more.
Thursday evening, I lounged in the large leather seats of the gallery awaiting to here Pulitzer Prize winner, Junot Diaz, speak of what great things we English teachers do, except for us college teachers with whom he seems to take issue. He claimed we have given up and given into our institutions’ efforts to do business rather than to do academics. I wanted to stand and say he was wrong. I wanted to share that there were many of us who still cared, who still taught, who still allowed our students to learn all they can and even more than they thought they could. I confess that I did not stand. Any comment made seemed overshadowed by the rhetoric of the F word Mr. Diaz employed throughout his, well, talk. Purpose and audience, Mr. Diaz, purpose and audience.