In Spring 2014 I remember going to Central States in Saint Louis and being so starstruck by all of the presenters I admired. I was so shy and nervous that I truly embraced the fly on the wall mentality. I did NOT want a single soul to know I was there! At the following Central States conference in Minneapolis, I made a sincere effort to approach those presenters that I admired and I also reached out to other teachers I’d “met” through Twitter during down time. It completely changed my conference experience for the better! When I had the opportunity to meet Craig Klein (Tweeter: @profeklein) of SpanishCuentos.com at #iwla15, I felt compelled to get his autograph on my newest purchase, Peter va a Colombia. My kids thought it was so cool that I had met an author of a book we had in class!
Fast forward to #iFLT16 and one of my missions was to touch base with all of the teacher-authors of the books I use in class. It was kind of like the Pokémon motto Gotta catch ’em all, but TPRS Publishing style. I wanted to be able to show my students a picture of myself with the author and the book. It makes me look cool and gives students somewhat of a personal connection (through me) to the author and the story. Plus, even though many of them would love to do it, it’s hard to connect virtually through Skype/Hangouts because these authors often are full time teacher just like me and schedule don’t always match up. Kristy Placido (tweeter: @placido; blog: kplacido.com) was so sweet to not only take a picture with me and the novel Robo en la noche, but she also signed the book, too. I took a picture with both Carrie Toth (tweeter: @senoraCMT; website: somewheretoshare.com) and Carol Gaab (Tweeter: @CarolGaab; website: tprstorytelling.com) in case I end up teaching some of their novels again in the future. When I later found out Carol had brought her championship rings with her to the conference I asked for a retake. I posted a picture with the rings on my fingers, the novel Felipe Alou, and her lovely self on my Facebook for last year’s Spanish 3 students to see. I had a lot of former students like that image – even students who hadn’t read Felipe Alou!
Unfortunately, not all of the authors I will be using next year (I have Spanish 1 + 2 at a new school!) were at #iFLT16. I look forward to adding Mira Canion (Tweeter: MCanion; website: miracanion.com) to my collection the next time I see her because I will be using her novel Fiesta Fatal in Spanish 1 next year. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get Ginni Hildebrant’s (website: 1goodstory.net) signature between #CIIA16 and #iFLT16! While her novels aren’t in the my syllabi yet, I could easily see us adding her novels to our curriculum once we’ve all had a chance to read through her novels.
I strongly encourage you to consider reaching out next time you’re in the presence of a teacher-author. I assure you that most of them will be extremely flattered that you’re asking for their autograph and/or a picture with them, but it will be worth it to see your students’ eyes light up when you show them those pictures!