I am excited to attend my first ever conference that I am not required to go to!! That is kinda huge. I think it’s really important for educators to stay excited about our profession and to seek out ways in which we can get new ideas and share what is working in our own classrooms. My district offers continuous professional development opportunities for any teacher who chooses to attend, however, it seems to me that the same teachers who go, grow… and those who don’t stay miserable… they seem to have lost their passion for teaching. This is just a job for them… not a profession. Not only does this make me sad, but it is really upsetting. These kids we are teaching deserve to have professionals teach them… they should not have to suffer through another lifeless class, taught by an educator who doesn’t really want to be there anymore. At some point, teaching became less about the kids and more about the teacher. I’m ranting…
Anyways… I’m excited to see what this EdCamp collaboration is all about. In the CADRE program, we are encouraged to collaborate with other teachers, both new and experienced, to find out what is working and what isn’t. This first year of teaching has been one of learning experiences and self-discovery. I had these really fabulous ideas about how to run my classroom, before I started teaching, but after trying to incorporate them into my classroom, I discovered that my amazing ideas are oftentimes only amazing in my head. So, I go to my cohort of teachers, both at my school and in the CADRE program, and tell them what I tried and ask them what works for them. This process seems to let me practice my independence and creativity, but when something doesn’t work, I can adapt and rely on my network of professionals to find something that does.
Here is some more information about this type of educator gathering:
EdCamps have been popping up around the country lately as a way for teachers to gather together informally to discuss issues that are important to them, without the registration fees, travel expenses or corporate agendas of larger conferences. The schedule of discussions for the day is generated by the attendees on a whiteboard, and through the day people are free to move from discussion to discussion as they are interested.
Today on the Edutopia website there was an article about this new “unconference” phenomenon, and EdCamp Omaha was prominently listed as an upcoming example. A great quote from the article was:
“…something shifts when a group of motivated people get in the same room and direct their own experience: They share what’s working and what isn’t. They support each other. It’s both inspirational and incredibly practical.”
P.S. Thanks to all of you who reply to my posts. I really appreciate all of your thoughts. I just hope that we can all do a little more than “get through” the day when we teach… I hope we can all change a life!