Friday, November 21, 2008

Nerd Alert!

I'm in nerd heaven!!! I'm in San Antonio at the National Council of Teachers of English Convention for four days! It's all teaching, all the time. I've only been here for a day and a half, but I've already had a few blog-worthy experiences. I've boiled down each experience into two words or less in case you're in a hurry. But if you've got the time, you will be rewarded with the full story!

Convention Overall: LOVE IT
I love learning about teaching more than the average person should. I walk around on a mission with my convention program all highlighted and dog-eared and I have pored over my schedule for hours to make sure I'm making the most of my time and attending every session possible. There are over 1,000 sessions available, so it's a bit overwhelming. But I love it. I mean, if they gave us homework, I'd probably do it.

San Antonio Riverwalk: OVER IT
Over it, over it, over it!!!!! ...And have been for quite some time. I'm not sure if it's the fact that I've been to San Antonio more than 10 times or the fact that ALL of the hotels (except mine - The Valencia) and restaurants SUCK, but San Antonio has definitely lost it's allure. As I was eating my tasteless shrimp fajitas with watery salsa on rubbery tortillas, I longed for REAL Mexican food in Houston. Yes, I'm a food snob, but seriously.... the food here is overpriced and not even remotely good. And by the way, there's only so many times one can hear "La Cucaracha" or "Guantanamera" sung by a cheezed-out mariachi band before wanting to harm oneself or others. And don't even get me started on the smell of the "river".

Traveling Solo: WEIRD / REFRESHING
I'm here in San Antonio all by myself. It's been a long time since I've been this by myself! No one from my school wanted to come, so I came anyway. The perks: a nice hotel room all to myself, eating wherever and whenever I want, some peace and quiet, and some time to disconnect. The downfalls: eating dinner by myself, not being able to sleep since I'm used to Brent, and getting a little lonely. Overall, it's been nice to get away and learn about what I love on my own terms. It's a little freeing. However, I've had two nights of eating alone at restaurants, and I'm a little over that. I may get room service tomorrow. On the bright side, since technically I've been on two dates with myself, I have to say that I am really cool.

Convention Friends: OVERRATED
Since I'm here by myself, I resolved to meet some people. At least we already have ONE thing in common. How hard can it be? Well, it's not hard to meet people, but it is hard to meet people I like. (again, I'm a snob) I'm constantly looking for young people to sit next to, but it's kind of slim pickings. Conventions attract large older women who wear fanny packs, orthopedic shoes, and bedazzled denim shirts. Anyway, I met this one lady the first night. She was old, but she was relatively cool. We talked for about 15 minutes. I felt good about myself. Today, I saw her in the exhibit hall. We recognized each other, and a short conversation ensued:

Me: Hi! We talked yesterday, remember? How is your day?
Her: Oh, it's great. Hey... I didn't notice yesterday that you are expecting! How exciting!
Me: I'm not expecting.
Her: Oh. Maybe it's just your clothes?
Me: Yeah, maybe. (I said some other things after "Yeah, maybe" to her in my head, but I will censor those comments since this is a family-friendly blog.)

Most Convention Sessions: STAR STRUCK
I'm obsessed with "famous" teachers. I've read all their books and use all their ideas. They are all at this convention! So far I've gone to sessions by Teri Lessene, Kelly Gallagher, Jeff Anderson, Carl Anderson, Amiee Buckner, Jacqueline Woodson, and Barry Lane! If you don't know who those people are, it's just because you are not as nerdy as me. I have loved hearing these people speak. They have reinforced that I'm headed in the right direction in my classroom and given me lots of good ideas.

One Convention Session: PAINFUL
All the sessions have been good except one. Oh. My. Gosh. Imagine a 70 year old lady talking in a monotone voice while writing on an overhead projector and talking about a ridiculously ancient reading strategy circa the early 1980s. Now, I'm no expert, but the stuff she was talking about was in my certification program before I even started teaching and it was useless, so I never applied it in an actual classroom. Painful. I sat through 30 minutes trying to tune her out and read something else, but finally a little piece of me died, and I could take it no more. In the middle of the presentation, I got up and walked out. If that makes me a bad person, so be it. But here's the funny part: When I got up and left, everyone else thought to themselves, "What?! We can leave?" and (no joke) 25 people got up and followed me out!! For a second, I felt bad for the old lady, but then I remembered the 30 minutes of my life that I could never get back. When we all got out of the conference room and into the hall, we shared a laugh and several "WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT?" looks and went our separate ways. I felt strangely like a leader.

I still have 2 more days, so I'm sure I'll have more stories to come! You're my BFF if you just read this whole post. I guess I just needed someone to talk to! Back to my solitude...



The semi-newlyweds said...

I read the post and I was thoroughly entertained!!! haha

Tiffany said...

Um...I was in SA on Thursday planning for my conference which is there in February of '09. I wish I would have known you were there! Also, my host hotel is the Grand Hyatt and I think it's great! SA also has amazing mexican food....I'm afraid you were in the wrong place. :( I hope my attendees don't hate SA as much as you or I am toast! Glad you're enjoying the conference.

Katie Norwood said...

You're right... The Hyatt is sweet. I went in it today. It is totally modern and cool. I'm in the Valencia Hotel - also sweet. And... I had good Mexican food today!!! I ate at Acenar. It was exceptional. So I take back the comment that all food here sucks! I'm sure people who have not been here as many times as I have will love it. Especially since you're in charge!

Kristen said...

Love the post! Late old lady;)

AmberKoren said...

Loved the blog! I agree w/ you on San Antonio food way over priced!! My Goodness:)

Marisa Frizzell said...

That blog was hilarous! I can totally see you there, all cute and trendy, with these sequened-bedazzeled t-shirt dress ladies.... love it!
It's fun keeping up with you guys! You're right- all the cool kids blog. At least that's what I tell myself! :)

Katie said...

Katie! How did I miss that you were in San Antonio!?!? You know that I basically live here now, right? I have a corporate apartment even. Wish I'd known you were here! We do such a sad job of keeping up in Houston, maybe we could have done better in another city?!? :) Hope all is well with you!


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