Working with a dear colleague, I am thinking through what it means to share ideas in a professional and developing space.

What it means to grow with colleagues.

What it means to grow in a profession.

Life-long learning at its best: with, for, about, and in service of peers and the ones we serve.

Specifically, I’ve been working on a proposal for NCTE 2024, “Heart, Hope, Humanity.”

It’s probably the most beautiful phrasing of a conference / convention theme I’ve ever heard.

And honestly – it’s About Damned Time.

We need to – we deserve to – we are indebted to opportunities to be – serving humanity as professionals and the humanity that is embedded in our field.

To be clear (I know I use that phrase often 😅), I want to say out loud and in caps so the folks in the back can hear:


I know this can be “controversial.” If you feel that it is, I invite you to think about the fact that we are ALL humans, being. Not just “human beings.” No, we are “humans, being.” Educators, too.

[Punctuation matters. We’ve learned this time – many a grandma has been sacrificed on the altar of social media posts to make this point.]

It’s more than time to center the humanity of educators in public and private education spaces, and in our national conversation.

If you are an educator, you probably get this.

If you are not, I invite you to pause. To think. To open a pathway to “maybe” or “possibly” or “whoa…I never thought of it that way.”

When we think of (ourselves) – educators – as humans, we allow for many things. We allow for error, fault, miscalculations, what I’ll call “Pollyanna” dreams (a.k.a., “utopian expectations”), for the time needed to think, to plan, to collaborate, to perseverate, to contemplate, to explore, to dream, to hypothesize, to…well…to do all the things. To be in process. To be part of the evolution of thinking and growth. To show up for our students as real, and to bring them the issues of our world with honesty and openness.

We need … well … we – educators – NEED. To be human is to need.

In community.

And that – community – is the crux of all the “things” we need.

It’s ok to need.

To want.

To request and to demand and to breathe through the need to … well … to just BE.

You are an educator. Or you love one. Or you have been impacted by one. Or you are in search of one.

When you think of yourself or of them – or recall them or love them or inspire them – remember how much power you have. Because you get to pay it forward. Or back. Either way, you compound the effect. You create humanity for yourself and for others, too.

Choose your own adventure in your conversations and thinking around education: I encourage us to be generous and abundance-driven, and to see (and vote for!) education and educators in this light. When we are expansive and humanizing – humanity driven – hearts open and hope is possible.