(that’s the title of our convention)
My adventure to San Francisco began with a conversation on the plane with a man who is presenting at the conference. Can I just say that I think English teachers are among the most friendly, empathetic, and intelligent people out there? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we are constantly reading others’ thoughts and words (essays, stories, poetry, etc.) and striving to respond in constructive, supportive, and valuable ways. I think this translates into our relationships with others. Or, conversely, perhaps English teachers choose this profession because they get to do in writing what they are already enjoying doing in their relationships. In any case, everyone I’ve met here (including on the plane and the shuttle to the hotel) has been very friendly, open, and accepting. I love the combination of the hippie element and the professional. Many English teachers encompass both elements simultaneously.
So, my first day ended up being sight-seeing day because I hadn’t prepaid for the workshops on Wednesday. Here’s what I saw:
Golden Gate bridge, east side in the morning
Alcatraz (from a distance)
Saw the crookedest street from afar
City Lights Bookshop (where Allen Ginsburg first performed his famous Beat poem “Howl” and where I purchased that poem and a book of haiku by Jack Kerouac that are quite stunning)
Golden Gate park, including the Japanese Tea Garden and the Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Pacific Ocean: Jen loves the beach
Land’s End Cliff walk at sunset
Cliff Side: gorgeous homes in prestigious neighborhood right on the cliffside
Golden Gate Bridge from the west at sunset
Greens: famous vegetarian restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf looking out at the sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge
I am still sore from the all-day speed walk-a-thon, but it was worth every minute. Gorgeous weather!
Jen rides the cable car!
Gorgeous old houses in cool neighborhoods.
The Golden Gate Bridge, east side, morning view
Walking on the bridge
The sea lions at Pier 39
The City Lights Bookstore, where Kerouac and Ginsberg were regular attendees of Beat poetry readings
Kerouac’s haiku do not have the traditional 5-7-5 syllabic structure.
Cherry Blossoms in the Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park
Bamboo Trees in the Arboretum, Golden Gate Park
Under the bridge
On Thursday and Friday I attended several different seminars that focused on:
–re-invigorating traditional research assignments
–the potential classroom and writing uses of Myspace and Facebook
–the pros and cons of the 5-paragraph essay structure
–collaborations between college and high school English departments to make the transition easier for students
–what to teach during the senior year so that students will be ready for college writing
–teaching dual credit courses: the challenges and rewards
–listening to Dave Eggers talk about war writing (he is very cool)
–how to use satire and parody like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report to teach students critical thinking skills
I have been making lists of ideas from these awesome conferences. Presenters are from colleges around the country, both community colleges and prestigious universities, such as one of my presenters from M.I.T. I always get great ideas from discussions with others, and I always appreciate the moments of validation for things that I’m already doing right.
So far, this convention has been very edifying. I hope to attend it again in the future!