Every year, the Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE) hosts a conference dedicated to bringing together the educators of Michigan. Their mission is to help provide professional resources and encouragement for current educators in the state, mainly supporting the language arts.
One of the principal things MCTE is moving toward is the ability to provide organizational techniques and classroom models for K-12 educators. This program has been in place since 1911, allowing for a great amount of growth and development within it.
On Oct. 13, one of Alma College’s very own language arts educators will be attending the conference. Dr. Beth Spinner is a well-known and well-loved Assistant Professor of Education in the Alma College community. Her positivity and passion for her work and field inspire the content she will be presenting at this year’s conference.
“We will be talking about practices we implement to engage in joy in the English classroom,” said Spinner. “The idea came about after I facilitated a book group that read and discussed Unearthing Joy by Gholdy Muhammad. As we read the book, we realized how the idea of centering joy and rest resonated with us, especially in the current climate of teaching right now,” said Spinner.
“There are a lot of hard things teachers face, but we love teaching and want to help others center joy in hopes they are rejuvenated in their teaching practice,” said Spinner.
Spinner said that reading Muhammad’s work inspired her to think about ways in which to cultivate joy in her classroom. “I think I’ve always practiced joy, just never stopped to think about how I was doing it. Teaching makes me happy, and the book group allowed us to talk about specific ways we all practice joy in our classrooms and how to share these ideas with others,” said Spinner.
In addition to presenting at MCTE this year, Spinner will also present at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) conference as a part of five different sessions. The NCTE conference will take place from Nov. 16 to 19 in Columbus, Ohio.
This year’s keynote speaker is none other than actor Tom Hanks. Several of Dr. Spinner’s sessions focus on teaching by utilizing young adult literature as part of the curriculum along with teacher preparation courses and research.
Dr. Spinner highly encourages education students who may be interested in MCTE to participate. “It is such a great opportunity to learn and network. Conferences are a way I practice joy in teaching. It is refreshing to talk with and learn from other teachers in your content area or field,” said Spinner.
“As education students, you might find yourself networking with a future colleague. The people who put on these conferences love when future teachers attend. While you’re there, talk with people, ask questions, and be prepared to come away with lots of great ideas and book recommendations,” said Spinner.
If any Alma College students have questions regarding either the MCTE conference or the NCTE conference, they are encouraged to ask Dr. Spinner for any additional information.