I am an unapologetic nerd. I love to read. To reflect. I love to grow and get better at whatever it is I am trying to do in life. As an educator, it is important to model that for not only our students but also our teachers.
It’s why one of our professional goals each year as a staff is to read a book that they feel can contribute to their growth as an educator. It’s an individual choice. One that I ask they take seriously, b/c I am also not a fan of jumping through hoops for the sake of jumping.
I’m also a huge proponent of attending conferences and growing with people and spend a considerable amount of my budget to grow our people. Our team knows that I allocate money for them to travel and attend various conferences throughout the year. It’s even MORE fun when they find something and ask to go, but I also send what I can their way too. That also includes my more siloed campus members…art, music, pe, etc. Everyone deserves the chance to get better if they want to.
When it comes to conferences for me, I find I am much more selective these days.
I’ve been spoiled by the amazing educators I’ve gotten to see throughout the years that not only MOVE me personally, but that also push me professionally. I need both these days. I need to get better as a leader for my people, in addition to needing that personal connection to make it all come together with a big pretty bow. (like a gift! see? those love languages come up all over the place!)
Excited that FETC is first up in 2020…it checks off #allthethings on my “make it worth missing school” list. For my Texas peeps, FETC is the Florida TCEA, their state tech conference. “Tech” conferences have come a long since my days in the technology department…no longer are they just about the shiny tools and 50 apps in 50 minutes. It’s more about effective instruction in using any kind of technology, about introducing effective pedagogy and growing with your teams. Tools will come and go, but your people are yours.
Example…here are a couple of the sessions I am really excited about…
- Dwight Carter: former principal, “Why settle for good when you can be G.R.E.A.T! In today’s high demand culture of education, it’s easy to get bogged down by initiatives, mandates, and other constraints, but there are two things we can control: our attitude and actions. You will learn five habits to shift your mindset to be G.R.E.A.T every day.”
- Marlena Gross-Taylor, former principal, “Explore instructional strategies that can be used to create effective learning conditions to increase student success. Identify evidence-based instructional routines and tech implementation designed to maximize student interaction in classroom activities to deepen student discourse and thinking. Participants will identify a component of instructional practice they want to improve and develop a personal professional plan to support the identified goal.”
- Marlena is also presenting on “The start-up model thrives on high-energy, innovative ideas and intentional marketing. This session will guide you as a leader in branding your school with a start-up mentality to create excitement, celebrate the creativity of students, and promote family and community involvement. Principals are the lead storytellers of their schools and must become adept in leveraging digital resources to share the amazing accomplishments of their school.”
- Jacie Maslyk has SEVERAL sessions I can’t wait to get to:
C259 | #Connect2Lead: Using Your Learning Network to Move Your School Forward
W172$ | Challenge Accepted! 6 Engineering Design Challenges for Any Classroom
W085$ | Design in the Making: Using Creative Thinking in the Innovative Classroom
W211$ | Remake Literacy: MakerEd Meets ELA in Powerful Ways
W011$ | Unlock Creativity: 7 Keys For Every Educator
C032 | 5 Digital Tools for Every Administrator
Again, so much more than tools and tricks, right? I am hoping to catch sessions from Steven Anderson, Shaelyn Farmsworth, and Joe Sanfelippo..again, national voices that will be there, working with educators of all levels. Knowing that all these crazy talented educators will all be in the same space at the same time…I’m also looking forward to the conversations that I know will be taking place. I will never forget attending a conference with a group of people who attended zero sessions because “they knew all that already.” Even if that is true…
Connecting with like-minded, incredible, committed people just fills my bucket. How do YOU do that? If not at conferences, then how?