Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Vision of an Extraordinary Educator

Raising Student Voice: Speaking Out for Equity and Justice

“Our students’ voices matter. Their voices matter in our schools, our communities, and beyond. As teachers, we want our students to discover their own voices. We want them to know the power of their voices. We want them to know the power of others’ voices, and we want them to know the power of their collective voices. Most important, we want to help them discover how their voices might impact our world and to be empowered to use their voices to speak out for equity and justice.

“Stories can help our students discover and clarify their own voices. Stories can help us to know our world better. Stories can help us to understand our world and the people in it. Authors, teachers, and librarians work to ensure that every child has books, digital texts, and other media in which they see themselves. They also work so that students have books that can help them understand others. Our students deserve stories that impact who they are and who they can become. They deserve stories that help them understand people and situations that are different from their own. They deserve stories that help them build confidence and empathy. They deserve books that validate their world as well as books that challenge their views. And most important, they deserve to tell their own stories.

“When we meet in Houston, Texas, in November 2018, it is my hope that we will focus on the ways literacy creates change and the ways in which our students can raise their voices to impact their communities. NCTE members create spaces for students to sound their voices. In 2018, we’ll come together in Houston to celebrate our students’ voices and the impact they make in the world.”

--Program Chair Franki Sibberson

Some of the featured speakers who will be at #NCTE18:

More convention information here.

The blog's been quiet this fall, but when you see this convention that Franki's been planning, you will understand why she's gone missing. It's so...Franki! The focus on student voice, the importance of equity and justice, the diversity of the featured speakers, the innovation of the "Build Your Stack" sessions. 

Me? A bit of a rocky start to the school year and 300+ books read for the Huck Award since the middle of August.

We're both eager to be back. But first we're going to soak in the words of these (and other) amazing speakers, have joyous reunions with friends we only see once or twice a year, and do work that we love almost as much as the work we do in our classrooms.

Please join me in celebrating an extraordinary educator, my co-blogger and friend, Franki Sibberson, who will assume the presidency of the National Council of Teachers of English at the 2018 NCTE Annual Convention. A fifth grade classroom teacher with the vision, passion, and energy to lead at the national level. 


  1. Congratulations, Franki!
    You've read 300+ books since mid-August, Mary Lee? Wow!!

  2. Congratulations, Franki, on an amazing job! Thank you for your leadership! Our profession so needs people like you! I know the conference will be absolutely fantabulous!

    And Mary Lee, thanks for your gifts, as well. I can't imagine trying to read 300 books and teach full time too! I'm trying to read 50 for the CYBILS and it's about to kill me!

    Wishing you both a terrific time in Houston! And selfishly, I can't wait for you to be back blogging! I have missed you!

  3. Thank you for all you both do to elevate our profession because it is what we do for our students and the those we reach that matters. You have shown us that intellectual curiosity, passion for learning and respect for difference can lead the way. You are both beacons for teachers in grave need. Thank you. most sincerely, Brenda Eaves - primary classroom teacher since 1981. You've given me hope.

  4. Both of you are ENOUGH and you offer more than enough. The conference is going to be amazing and we all are going to better because of it.
    Shine on,

  5. The conference is now behind us and the memories made forever a part of who we’ve become. Thank you BOTH for all you’ve done for this community. I am forever grateful for you!


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