Editors Note: Today's KATE Update is written by Samantha Jessup
Going into the KATE (Kansas Association of Teachers of English) conference this year, I was filled with both trepidation and curiosity. How could I, a student, ever hope to make a place for myself among this community of passionate, progressive teachers? I was very uneasy, expecting the conference to compose itself of hundreds of people from all over the state, few of which I would know, and even fewer who would know me. Yet, fellow classmates of mine were presenting at the conference and were just as nervous and inexperienced as I.
Arriving at the conference changed everything. When I realized that the conference attendees numbered only in the dozens, possibly around one hundred people, I was shocked. It was inconceivable to me that so few teachers in Kansas were at the forefront of this professional communicability, and that so few English teachers either chose not to participate in this event, or were left unaware. This made the impact of the KATE conference for me, that much more important and meaningful. I was taking part in a select group of teachers concerned with their profession and eager to discuss the modern issues and discoveries of teaching.
Bill Konigsberg was extremely humble and kind in his keynote address, which started us off. His message and gentile manner in which he presented it, really carried such an inviting warmth. I was honored to have had the chance to speak with him later, and to attend his session later on publishing YA literature, a great passion of mine. He was definitely a great part of personal growth and professional development for me, both as a writer and a teacher.
Attending the different sessions, on a bibliography of YA Lit, Graphic Novels, and how to use YA texts to advocate for anti-bullying, were interesting and educational experiences. It was wonderful to share my passion for teaching using graphic novels, especially since there were so many teachers interested in the session presented by my classmate. There was vital discussion and relevant applications among all of us.
Now I look forward to implementing some of the strategies I have learned about using graphic novels in my classroom, and creating some of my own. I can't wait until next year so that I can share what I have discovered about teaching graphic novels and strategies other teachers can use.
Most importantly though, I look forward to being an active member of the KATE conference and continuing in my professional development, growing and discussing important issues of the the education profession and the pivotal issues of teaching English.