I entered the Summit Educational Service Center for the Teach Better Conference with expectations. I reviewed what sessions I would like to attend prior to arriving so I was ready to learn. Yet, once the conference started my expectations were already met and exceeded.
One of the most challenging moments of the conference was at the very start. Owning my Faults was an eye opener and it was from that point forward that I realized that I need to be better. When I say I need to be better I don’t just mean better for my students, but rather I need to be better for my students, colleagues, family and friends, and myself.
After that eye opening experience came Chad’s eye opening presentation. Wow did it make me think. It made me realize that I have had moments that have made me wonder if I was in the right career. I have had moments that made me think if I could be doing something different. Yet now, after listening to Chad, I now see that I am where I need to be and that I just need to bring my focus back to being better for my students. I need to be more better today than I was yesterday. I need to be even better tomorrow than I am today. I will be better!
Not to take away from other conferences, but what truly set Teach Better apart from other conferences was that the presenters are educators. They provided practical resources that could be implemented the next day (Oh…and I did implement the next school day!). The presenters all were ready and willing to show their passion and enthusiasm of education and that they were all willing to make the educators present better.
Speaking of the presenters, the group of educators that were gathered for the conference blew me away! Never have I experienced a group of that caliber at one conference. Honestly, I never thought I would get to have one on one conversations with presenters like Adam Welcome, John Meehan, Alicia Ray, Jake Miller, CJ Reyonolds, Michael Earnshaw, Robert Martinez (Resiliency Guy), Ryan Sheehy, Dave Burgess, Tara Martin, and of course, the Teach Better Team. My PLN (or PLF, professional learning family) has grown by leaps and bounds…and I couldn’t be happier! I was able to actually interact and engage in conversations with these educational leaders. I could tell that they actually care to see me grow as an educator.
The entire community that I encountered was there for one reason, and that’s to be better. I really don’t know how a person could have walked away from 2 days of immersive learning not wanting to be better. The Teach Better team did something special!
One of the special moments that I had was when I had a brief moment to talk to Dave Burgess. Dave and I spoke about an idea that I have and he then pointed me to the direction of John Meehan. Now, I recognized John’s name from Twitter (a great resource for teachers!) and I never really put it all together. John and I share the awesome connection of competing in the NCEA Social Media Influencer contest. While it was in different years, John and I are passionate about Catholic education. I didn’t expect to go to this conference and connecting with another Catholic educator who is ready to join forces on a project. If it wasn’t for Teach Better, I wouldn’t be this energized to begin focusing on this project I have in mind.
Each session I attended, and it was so difficult to decide which sessions to attend, was where I needed to be. Each session led me to another thought or idea of how I can be better. Each session was a session that I needed to hear. When I attended Joshua Stamper’s 15 minute session, it was one that made me realize that what my students are dealing with can be a major factor in their learning. Now, even before I went into this session I was aware of how trauma could impact my students, but it was great to hear of how to work within these situations.
I would say that the Teach Better conference was one of the best educational conferences I have been to simply because it was real. It was real educators working to make real educators better. Also, Teach Better wasn’t all about education. It was about the educator as a person. A key takeaway from the conference was that I need to make time for myself and my family. The only way I can be better for my students is to be a better me. A better me for myself and for my family.
Teach Better was what I needed to be a part of at this moment in my career. The connections that I made and to meet some of my Twitter PLN are moments that are going to be with me for the rest of my career. It was where I needed to be. It was the right conference at the right time. I never expected to leave Teach Better feeling as energized as I did.
Thank you to Chad, Jeff, Rae, and Tiffany for your dedication to making educators better. Thank you for letting me join your family! I’m going to keep getting better for myself! I’m going to keep getting better for my family! I’m going to keep being better for our students! I’m going to keep getting better for all my fellow educators!
Let’s get out there and TEACH BETTER! See you at Teach Better 20!!