Last weekend I was lucky to get to spend the weekend at a What Great Educators Do Differently conference. I spent two days listening to people speak about education with the same passion I have. I saw their emotions and dedication come up in front of my eyes. I had rich conversations with people who want change and who are taking steps to do things differently to make it better for the students they serve. At the end of the conference I tweeted out that GREAT professional development is such that it gives you goosebumps. This conference did just that!
I’ve read many of Todd Whitaker’s books, but listening to him speak and being able to talk with him in small group sessions was a truly remarkable experience. But it wasn’t just Todd, it was EVERY SINGLE PRESENTER that was there. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Honestly, having to pick only three sessions was the most difficult part of the weekend.
I first chose to attend Dr. Joe Mazza’s (@Joe_Mazza) session on Family and Community Engagement. Joe stressed the importance of meeting our community and family where their needs are, not our needs. Having a family night? Curriculum night? Then make sure that there is a way for parents who are unable to attend get the same information. Make them feel like they were there and make sure they feel they are important too.
Dr. Joe Sanfelippo’s (@Joesanfelippofc) session on Leading Learning set the tone that we should see opportunities such as these as professional growth for ourselves and our students. He stressed the importance of having passion in what you are doing, and through every minute he spoke, you could see his passion. As educators, do we know our passion, are we doing everything we can to reach it?
Principal El (@Principal_EL) has such a passion for working and meeting the needs of our toughest kids. We share this passion. I root for the underdogs and will put everything on the line for what is right for my special needs students. Principal El speaks with such passion you can’t help but to want to do EVERYTHING you can to help students. He asked "Would you want to be a student in your classroom?"
Although I couldn’t attend sessions by Starr Sackstein (@mssackstein), LaVonna Roth (@LaVonnaRoth ) , Kayla Delzer (@TopDogTeaching), Kim Hofmann (@hofmann_kim), Kirk Humpreys (@kirk_humphreys) and Erin Klein (@KleinErin) I caught up with friends and read the twitter feed about their sessions. (next time!!!!!)
Even the four short IGNITE sessions on Saturday presented by Derek Oldfield (@Mr_Oldfield ), Alyssa Mick (@amickthesparks), Elisabeth Bostwick (@ElisaBostwick) , and Bobby Dodd (@bobby__dodd) were great examples of educators who are passionate about students and what they get to do every single day!
It’s true, we ARE so fortunate to get to work in the greatest profession ever. As we get ready to head into 2017, think and reflect on these:
“Every kid wants to be part of something”
“Treat every student with respect and dignity every day, all the time”
“Say hello to every kid you pass by them in the hallway. You never know when it matters most”
“Two things to do every day - care and try”
“Make rules for the 99% not the 1%”
“Greet ALL students in halls - make all visitors feel welcome when entering building”
“Surround yourself with people who inspire you to aspire to greatness”
“Kids should run into classrooms because they are so excited to learn, not out because they can't wait to leave”
“You’ve got to know your WHY”
"Would you want to be a student in your own classroom?"
“Success only comes before work in the dictionary”
Thank you Jimmy Casas (@casas_jimmy) , Jeff Zoul ( @Jeff_Zoul), and Todd Whitaker (@ToddWhitaker) for inspiring, caring and sharing your passion. I’m a better educator because of role models like you!