Teach Better 19 was epic! I could never imagine an educational conference surpassing that experience. Little did I know that it was going to take 3 years for another conference to come along and actually be an even greater experience than Teach Better 19. That conference was Teach Better 22!
Let me get something correct first. Teach Better might be classified as a “conference” but it is truly something beyond a conference. Teach Better is an educational experience! Dare I say it’s almost like an educational Disney World! It just might be the happiest place on Earth for an educator! Let me tell you why.
First of all, the Teach Better experience brings together some of the best, if not the best, of education world. At one point I could count at least 10 educators that could be the keynote speaker at any other conference, but these educators were simply there to be a part of the conference or presenting breakout sessions. That is simply the quality of presenters that Teach Better brings to educators.
The philosophy of Teach Better is simple…Be better today than you were yesterday. Be better tomorrow than you were today. How can you be better each day? Trust those around you and lean on them for support. Understand that it’s okay to not know the answers to everything but to also understand that there are those around you that may know the answer. That’s what the Teach Better experience provides you with. It provides you with the access to many educators that accept that they don’t know everything but that they may know something someone else doesn’t and are willing to help that person become better.
At the opening keynote, the main reflection was on how so many schools and educators are under the idea that things are getting back to normal after the past two and a half years of uncertainty, remote learning, and oddness that were the pandemic years. Educators did amazing things during these past couple of years and took resources and tools and led education to new places. So the question was asked, “Why return back to normal? Why don’t we return better?” Education cannot go back to normal because we found better ways to reach students…to expand our connectivity to resources…to be educators. Returning to normal won’t make education better!
Let me tell you another thing about Teach Better…you have an incredible amount of access to these amazing educators, and these educators genuinely want to make you better. Let me share with you a little example. On day 2 of the conference I had lunch with 3 top selling authors, and one of those authors we actually made plans to have lunch together. I didn’t just decide to sit with them but rather we ate together because we wanted to share our stories and educational knowledge with each other. That’s what Teach Better provides.
Another example is that in one breakout session of 18 educators that I was in, there were 6 other educators in the session that could easily be keynote speakers for a conference. They are participating in these sessions because they want to continue to grow, learn, and become better.
One special experience for me happened during day one of the conference. There was a little delay in the lunches arriving, so I decided to go hang out outside. When I was outside I noticed that the keynote speaker for the next morning, Mickey Smith Jr, was there. I decided to say hello and we chatted for about 15 minutes, just sharing each other’s story and just getting to know each other. He told me that from when he entered into the conference that it simply had different feel…a different energy. He even said that he was so energized that he wasn’t even hungry. He just felt so positive and loved the concept of being better. It was so great just getting to talk to the keynote speaker one on one…and where else could that happen?
Speaking of the keynote, Mickey Smith, Jr. was beyond amazing. He came in ready to share and left it all out there! There were so many quotes during his keynote that I can’t even list them all. “It takes passion to teach, not a degree!” “You don’t just instruct, you inspire!” “We can be so busy looking that we’re not seeing!” This Grammy winning music educator was authentic with his story…and he’s one heck of a saxophone player!
While these connections that I made with the keynote speakers and authors were fantastic, it’s the relationships that I grew with my Teach Better Ambassadors crew that was even more special. After Teach Better 19, a program called Teach Better Ambassadors developed. Ambassadors promote the Teach Better philosophy to other educators and their schools. Since the Ambassador program was started, we have yet to actually meet in person. We have all met virtually and shared time together that way, but seeing each other in person was special. We are all like minded educators that want ourselves, each other, and all educators to teach better and simply be better.
Teach Better is beyond an educational conference. Teach Better is a way of life for an educator. It’s a philosophy. It’s an experience. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of this educational experience. I am so grateful for my ambassador family…my Teach Better Family…for the Teach Better community.
Hope to see you all at Teach Better 23!