Thanks to teacher, author, and NCTE affiliate leader Jennie Brown for writing this blog.
The reason why I write, teach, and lead is simple – I love leading a literate life, and doing those three things leave me feeling fulfilled in that passion for literacy.
I started my English teaching career eleven years ago, and at the time I had no idea what NCTE or PCTELA (the Pennsylvania affiliate) were. I came to school every day, pushed around my cart full of materials (I traveled from room to room during my first year), and taught my high school students reading and writing. At the time I was writing short stories of my own and reading outside of the classroom on a daily basis, but one thing I did not experience right away was professional development. It wasn’t until 2009, when the NCTE convention was held in our affiliate’s state – in the city of Philadelphia — that I was first introduced to NCTE. After chairing the secondary luncheon (with keynote speaker Joyce Carol Oates!!!) and then attending the many wonderful sessions offered at the convention, I knew that I wanted to be more involved in my local affiliate.
The next year I was co-chairing the PCTELA conference, and two years later I was named president of the organization. Just last week I passed the baton to the amazing Amy Nyeholt, and I now serve as past-president.
My debut novel Poppy Mayberry, The Monday released last month. Its sequels release in August 2017 and then in 2018. Although it can be a challenge to juggle teaching, writing, leading, and parenting at times, I wouldn’t have it any other way because I lead a literate life of my dreams. I wake up and get to teach literacy all day – amazing! I come home and get to read to my three-year-old – amazing. I spend early mornings and late nights creating amazing worlds and characters for kids to read about – amazing! And I get to be part of leading wonderful, passionate, literacy advocates through PCTELA and NCTE – amazing.
And that is why I write, teach, and lead.
Jennie K. Brown is a high school English teacher, recent past president of the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (PCTELA), and author of the Poppy Mayberry series. Find her on Twitter @jenniekaywrites and at her website .