Inspired by one of my new favourite blogs, “What Ed Said” (add this to your rss feed!), I decided to do a list of five things (she always does ten!) that I thought about the Reform Symposium this weekend. It was truly an amazing event and a great way to connect with so many different people around the world.
1. Power of a team. – For the first ever Reform Symposium, I was so amazed at how this was all pulled together by Shelly Terrell, Kelly Tenkely, Jason Bedell, and Chris Rogers. Being able to do all of the work without being in the same place was amazing. I saw the #rscon10 tag all through the weekend and it was great to see Twitter buzzing from this event. Amazing work by those four passionate educators. Thank you. From what I saw from this team working together across the world, imagine what we could do in teams at our schools?
2. Holidays? We don’t need no stinking holidays. – Okay, that is actually not totally true. Educators need time to recharge their batteries so they are fresh for the start of a new school year. The fact of the matter is that many educators take part in these conferences during summer without it being in some tourist city. I followed a ton of passionate educators that could have easily been doing other things this weekend, who took the time to learn and become better for the school year. The next time a parent says that educators only work ten months a year, I already have my argument ready.
3. Great educators continuously learn from others no matter their age or experience. – I recently have started corresponding with Rich Cantrell who is a principal in San Antonio. He has been an educator for a long time and has knowledge far beyond what I do in the field of education. When I saw his name at my own session, I was so excited! From reading about his school and talking with him, he has given me some great pep talks that I will be taking into my school year. What I was most impressed about with Rich was that with all of his experience, he spent his time learning from others so that he can still be better. He has probably seen it all in his time in education but his passion for learning continues. I will remember from Rich’s example that no matter how many years of experience I have in education, I can learn from anyone, no matter their years. Thanks Rich for making me feel valued as an educator; I promise I will work my hardest to do the same for others.
4. Learning is becoming more global. (Obviously) – One of the things that I really appreciated about my trip to Barcelona (this may sound weird) was being able to connect with people on Twitter in the European time zone. The majority of my tweets most of the time are when my European counterparts are sleeping and vice versa. I now have a lot more global members in my Personal Learning Network who have a ton of great ideas. It was great to see that when I was suffering from some sleepless nights, I could go to the Twitter feed and connect to a session and connect with people I now know a little bit better. As educators, we have a whole world that is now at our fingertips and we have no excuses why we can’t get better for our students. If you need help, ask. It is that simple.
5. What would our schools be like if we treated our colleagues the same way we treat people on Twitter? This was a huge thinking point for me as an educator and honestly something that has bugged me for years. For some reason, many adults seem to shy away from saying positives to other adults. It is easier to focus on saying the negatives to people then tell them when they are doing something good. Talking about my own self, I have never had an issue telling someone they are doing something great. If I think it, I say it. This is something that my parents taught me from a young age and my family has been taught to shower people with appreciation.
Watching the Twitter feed on the weekend, people are SO supportive of people who they have most likely never met. Are they the same way to the colleagues in their own school? Can you imagine the environment we could create if we told the people we work with about the fantastic stuff we see them doing in schools? Just so you know, this goes for recognizing EVERYONE you work with. Your administrators, other teachers, custodians, educational assistants, everyone. Everyone can do better feeling that they are more appreciated.
No one wants to hear insincere appreciation, but if you see something that they do that your impressed by, tell them. Just like we do on Twitter Even though this is something that I consider a common practice for myself, I am vowing that I will get even better at it. This will only add to the positive environment of my school so why would I not continue to work on this.
We do it with our kids. Lets make sure we do it with our colleagues.
****6. Don’t cough on camera