It has been a little over a week since I left #TETC20188 at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. Every year, I can say that I leave encouraged, inspired and ready to continue sharing. This year was no different.
Last week I sent out a TWEET that gave 3 simple takeaways (from my perspective) of attending #TETC2018. I wanted to use my blog forum to give a little more detail than the 200 or so characters allowed on Twitter. So a rehash...below you will find a screenshot of that specific tweet.
As you can see, my perspective focused on these three areas:
1. A LOT of hard work goes into these conferences
2. People are excited about sharing what they know
3. The most important thing...connections and friendships
Here you go...detailed version now.
I have assisted in developing and facilitating small-scale conferences. When I say small scale, I am talking about district-level. A few years ago, Christopher King and I came up with this idea of doing a "Summit" at my school and invite folks from our district to participate. It was technology-based and ended up being a GREAT event...even though we had to condense because a blizzard came (which is a rarity in my town)/
In that process, I realized that even for a small gathering of folks for relevant professional development, we spent a TON of time in preparation. Including but not limited to...content, space, technology, presenters, snacks and the list could go on. My point is...that was a huge undertaking for me and Chris. Imagine what it takes for a state-wide technology conference.
This conference is fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone at any stage of their technology integration. There is really something for everyone. My kudos go to the people involved with TETA who make this happen. If you do not ask or if you are not around anyone he has helped put this together, then there is no way to speculate how much time, planning an money this event takes. I am grateful for two things...1. the folks at TETA who put in this time and 2. that I just get to sit back and enjoy.
Anyways, I want to make it known that the hard work is evident.
It excites me every year when I get the email that allows me to propose to present. I did not send in proposal this year (new position, new responsibilities, just wanted to participate) but I did get to be a participate in a panel discussion about leadership and technology. It is always good to hear what others think.
What I think is cool about this conference (as well as others I attend), is that a vast majority of the presenters are in the trenches. They are current teachers who are sharing the great things that are happening in their schools and classrooms. Who better to learn from than other practitioners? The enthusiasm is evident. I see people frantically taking notes, photos of slides, asking tons of questions and even sketch noting...LOVE this by the way! Check out Sylvia Duckworth or Wanda Terral to get the info on this fun form of note-taking.
As an administrator who has experience both building level and now district level, I want to shout out to all of these educators at TETC to...
...bottle up this enthusiasm and take it back to your building. There is no reason to let this momentum die, spread the love at your building or your district. Teach others what you have learned and model how it can work for them.
There is no doubt that this conference provides the encouragement, enthusiasm and tools to share with others. The next step...share it.
Connections and Friendships
I have developed lifelong friends by attending TETC. We do not always get to see each other so when we meet up, it is like a reunion. Luckily with the flattening ability of social media, we are able to converse and collaborate on a regular basis. But you know as well as I do, human contact can be good for the soul...and the profession.
I make it a point to connect with people at the conference but also everywhere I go. You may hear a common theme in the things I say or share...relationships. Building relationships with your colleagues (whether in your district or across the country), building relationships with your students, building relationships with your community will only assist in making you and them better stewards of this gift we call education.
There was a time in my life where certain people were unattainable. Certain people had the best information and there were not that many means of sharing. All of that has changed and TETC is one of the best places to start building that professional learning network. That PLN can be something you rely on and utilize to make you a better educator and person.
So...are all conferences the same? Simple answer no. But, in many cases, they are what you make it. If you pay attention, find things that catch your attention, connect with like-minded people (or even folks who disagree) around you...the opportunities are endless.
If you have any difficulty in seeing these when you go, follow me @mickshuran...I will help you move in the right direction.