With the school year going into full swing, so are many of the weekend September festivities: festivals, football, and fall TV. For educators, it is also a time for weekend conferences, workshops, and EdCamps.
Ever since becoming a superintendent, I have been faced with the same questions at least once a week. Below is a simple Q & A for you.
“Why do you still participate in EdCamps, conferences, and weekend workshops?”
The simple answer is because I enjoy them. I enjoy learning at these workshops. I enjoy learning from others and with others. I enjoy networking. Mostly, I enjoy seeing how other students are learning and how I can harness their triumphs for my own students and teachers.
Yes, some conferences are the same ol‘ same ol.” I don’t go to those.
Yes, I often run into many of the same people. So? Chances are those people are a part of my PLN (personal learning network), and I learn more from them than from anyone else.
Are those folks that do all of these conferences or tweets in some cult or clique? Eh, some of them. Just because we are on Twitter or the 18,000,000 other avenues of social media does not mean we all get along – or should for that matter. Difference is good. Everyone doing the same thing…. bad. The movers and the shakers always find each other, not for popularity, but so they can grow together. Anyone who is too cool to say, “Hi,” to you or spends their time spewing slander? Drop ’em like French class. (Remember that movie?)
Do you feel bad is you miss one? LOL – no. There have been many conferences/EdcCamps I have experienced. Some were great; some were not. In some cases, I served on the organizing committee. You do your time, and you move on. If it truly speaks to you, you stick around. It is not mandated by any means. There are scads of conferences and EdCamps that I’ve partaken in and don’t partake in now. It’s not a game changer if I don’t go or help out, and it never should be. If any EdCamp or conference is built around one person, there’s a big problem.
How do you get the time? That’s the tricky issue these days. I have an amazing family at home, and my 18-month-old twins require much time and talent. Not only that, but I want to spend as much time with them as possible. Family first, always.
What if you go alone? ho cares? You are going for you. I work the same way. I’m here to learn something. If I don’t learn, it’s a waste of my time.
Seriously, you really enjoy this stuff THAT much? Hell, yeah! Education is my passion; it’s what drives me. I am a fearless workhorse who wants nothing more than to have every available option for my students and staff, so that they can learn as well. I want our students to be productive members of society. Those students will be taking care of me down the road. Why would I not want the best for them?
Until the next conference, EdCamp, or whatever the next big thing will be…