(I just love alternate titles! I can’t ever make up my mind so having two is just perfect!)
I had not planned on attending ISTE this year. Changing school districts , several prior booked obligations, and just an overall weary feeling did not lend itself well to travel. However, the thought of missing out on connecting with some of my favorite minds and faces was even less appealing, so off I went!
My ISTE highlights:
Connecting with my friends. I don’t even have another word for them…they aren’t just people I “know from the internet”. Some I talk to everysingleday. Most are who I consult when I have a professional question. Several make me think, challenge my beliefs, and ensure I sound articulate when discussing hot educational topics. Some I met f2f for the first time this trip, including my room mate! 🙂 Melinda was just as delightful in person as she was on voxer! Getting the chance to be in the same space with the people whose tweets I read and blogs I follow just makes me happy. Surrounding yourself with people who have the same passion as you is calming. It just balances me out to move forward.
Listening. As vociferous as I am, I didn’t talk a lot this trip. (Angela Watson, you don’t count.) I don’t mean listening to sessions either. Confession: sessions at ISTE weren’t why I went. I’m a sharp enough cookie that if there is a tool or an idea that I want to learn more about, I can seek it out to more depth than I could have in sitting in a session. Also, changing districts means I am unsure of what my new role will entail. I’m going to need time to see what I can bring to the table, so I wasn’t on the prowl for something new and fabulous to take back with me. Lunching around a conversation about teacher leaders and challenging administrators how to mold and empower campus leadership without adding to teachers plates? That was better than any session I could have sought out.
Opportunity. As soon as I decided I was going to go to Atlanta, I checked the baseball schedule. My cousin plays for the Braves and I haven’t had an opportunity to see him play. What started as a “Hey George, let’s go see Evan play” turned into the best night I’ve had in a long time. Me and 34 of my closest friends, 🙂 ended up at Turner Field, on a perfect summer night to watch the game.
I can turn any sporting cliche into a metaphor for education, and this was no different. Baseball is nothing new to me, but through the experiences of my friends this game was completely different. We rode the subway to get there. As in…a train that WENT UNDER THE GROUND. That’s just not normal, ya’ll! Despite the fact that you may have been in education for “x” amount of years, every once in while get out of your comfort zone! Do something that challenges you! (Shaking hands aside, I think I handled it quite well. I only almost fell once! And I did lose my clinique lipstick…but I didn’t die! I win!) I didn’t even know there WAS a subway in Atlanta, but again, trusting those smarter than I, we went and had a grand ol’time.
Bonus: Getting to see Evan after the game even though he didn’t play was awesome!
I can’t imagine attending a conference and not having these connections. Jon Gordon has a quote that says “One person in pursuit of excellence enhances the performance and energy of everyone around them.” To me, that was all the focus on students, learning, and connections at ISTE this year and I am glad I went.
Above ground rideN,