Writing Home: NYSEC’s 71st Annual Conference

We invite you and we welcome you to return to / come to create and think about and be in this home with us.

Writing Home

We invite you and we welcome you to return to / come to create and think about and be in this home with us!

As we reflect on the myriad ideas this theme engenders and the shifting definitions of home and writing and living and learning and teaching and leading in both physical and digital spaces, we invite you to consider these questions and workshop proposal prompts:

In our classrooms / curriculum / programs / schools:

• How do we create, nurture, support, and sustain our writers in a way that fosters a home for writing in their hearts?
• How can we create a classroom that is a home for students as writers, building trust, collaboration, confidence, openness to sharing, comfort?
• How do we celebrate writing in our classrooms and programs and schools in ways that create a joyful home for writing?
• How do we use writing to help our writers think? To grow? To learn? To affirm / invent / reinvent themselves?
• To / for whom do we write? How do we position our students to write to authentic audiences so writing feels real and relevant, rather than formulaic or inauthentic?
• How do we / students write together in ways that envision, foster, develop, and build writing skills?
• How do we honor the individual’s writing process rather than an imposed process?
• What genres of writing have homes in our classrooms and curricula?
• What creative / academic / mentor texts / writing do we use to help students find their way?
• What reading / writing connections bring us home to our reading lives?
• How do we read to write? Write to read?
• How do we ensure each voice in the room is welcomed? Respected? Made to feel at home?
• How do we use writing to make someone else feel less alone / at home in this world?
• How can writing foster an environment where writers are genuinely looking for interconnectedness, moving away from divisiveness?
• How do we share / publish our students’ writing?
• How do we celebrate NCTE’s National Day on Writing?
• How do we make a home for the impact virtual instruction has had on student writers and writing?
• How have these last two years re-envisioned your writing curriculum? Program? • Instruction? Feedback methods?

In our professional and personal lives:

• How do we create and foster a home for our own collective, reflective, professional writing practice?
• How do we use writing to think? To learn? To affirm / invent / reinvent ourselves?
• How do we use writing to connect to ourselves? To others?
• How do we share / publish our writing?
• How is NYSEC a home for writers and writing?
• In what ways is / can NYSEC be a professional home for our members?

How do writing spaces become writing homes?

• How can we include writing, sharing, and gathering as points of entry–ways to cross these various thresholds – to home?
• In what way can we expand the definition of home within our professional selves and professional spaces?

Whether you have been with us virtually throughout these last two years or not, we invite YOU, HOME to NYSEC in October in Albany.

Come celebrate writing and home in an artful, purposeful, encouraging, inspiring, and fulfilling gathering with us. We’ve missed what we are when we gather together. We look forward to welcoming you home to NYSEC.

Michelle G. Bulla, 2021-2022 NYSEC President
& The NYSEC Executive Board

What do we want to be different because of how we spent this time together?

~ Priya Parker, author of
The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters

Home is where we wake up to the world. It is sacred, boundaried, illuminated and illuminating – a place where we feel and know belonging, gratitude for being, purpose, where we can be ourselves. It is where we find ourselves, where we honor the experiences not all people share.

It is forgiving, allowing, expanding, enabling us to grow beyond the boundaries of our faults and flaws, our mistakes and regrets, our loves and our heartbreaks, our experiences and our ideas.

It is our space, our place to be alone or to invite others in. It is where we can practice gratitude simply for arriving.

Or, it should be.

We know it is not always so for everyone at home or in their home districts, not so for all our colleagues or all our students, either in their homes or their classrooms or their schools.

Thus, when we choose to invent a home – to imagine a space to gather – the decisions we make are important. They set the stage for connection, for collaboration, for growth, for inspiration, for encouragement, for celebration. Or they don’t. I know we all prefer the former.

When I gather myself or with others, I renew and I recharge. I think and connect with my sense of self. I craft and create a new self.

I am reminded of the work of Bob Yagelski, who said that writing is praxis, that writing is actually living. That when we write, we do not just imagine ourselves to be or do or accomplish or think, but that we are actually, as pen moves across paper – or fingers move across keyboards (or voices move across airwaves) – creating ourselves. That through writing we not only identify who we are, but we make space for the unfolding, for the inventing, for the realizations and epiphanies and imaginings that articulate who we are, who or what we want to be, what we value, what we hope, what we dream.

The act of writing, then, is the act of manifesting ourselves, the act of creating home.