How do you as an administrator (or teacher!) feel about conferences? Professional learning? Empowering your teachers?Here are the things we did to maximize sending our team of teachers to #TCEA! Make the most out of your next conference!
Often our budgets and #allthethings (subs! testing! schedules! teaching!), make it impossible to send every teacher we have to attend any conference. I am a very big believer in growing and empowering the team I have with me, so I allocate a substantial amount of money in my budget towards teacher development. We did an individualized book study as a campus, my kinder team is attending the SDE Kinder conference this month, and my first-grade literacy leaders went to see the guided reading guru Janet Richardson when she was close. We had the awesome opportunity to send a team of teachers to TCEA last week. In meeting with these risk takers, I wanted to make sure that we maximized their benefit, as well as our staff, to learn all that we could from the conference!
We had a PD today where each TCEA tripper will share something they learned. They’ve staggered their sessions throughout the day. For a couple of teachers, this was REALLY out of their comfort zone, so they are presenting the same tool/session three times. For some, they have three different things to share. As our Wolves attend sessions throughout the day, I’ve asked them to tweet out their gems of greatness with #wearewhitt. (GO check it out!!) We’ll pull that thread up in PLC on Wednesday and explore all that was shared. Ala George Couros, I didn’t go over the “how to’s” of twitter today, I just gave them their expectations and off they went! It was a GREAT day of learning!
Asking for those three tweets will help each teacher not only have “notes” for what was shared but also allow them to experience all of the sessions that were offered today. Many went over the 20 minutes allowed, which will just make your principal heart so happy! This also solidified for the teachers that went that there were expectations on their experience. Preparing and presenting will help keep what they learned in focus…everyone knows that tired head feeling after you’ve returned from a conference, the one where you are so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start? My people have a plan!
As a last attempt to ensure we could get everything possible out of the conference, I’ve asked teachers to implement ONE strategy, tip, trick, or tool that they learned about today into their lesson plans for next week. It didn’t have to be something that all 22 students had to be able to do, but maybe it could be used as an opportunity for those who need enrichment. (I shared the Discovery Education Spotlight on Strategies and was AMAZED that it was all new to them!!)
As an admittedly techie administrator, there aren’t a whole lot of “things” that I haven’t heard of or been exposed to in my 15+ years of teaching, techN, etc. BUT until ALL of my teachers are as comfortable and confident as I am…then I am not done learning either! My goal is to never walk away from any session and think I’ve learned nothing…even with a tool my district pays for, I was able to glean useful strategies to help build up my Wolves.