Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Obvious Growth: An #ISTE2014 Reflection

In the summer of 2012, I attended my very first ISTE conference. This prompted the creation of this blog, my first public writing, and my journey into EdTech. This conference and the people that I attended with laid the foundation for the honest reflection I had to do about how I was teaching and what I really wanted for my students. This was both exciting and extremely frightening.

ISTE is a hustle. The days are filled with learning and teaching, conversations, new ideas, sharing and pushing our thought-process to be different. The nights are long with friends and networking and celebrations. It is a late night and early morning space where many of us don't stop moving until we step back home. I heard it described by many as exhausting, draining, and emotional. With so much to take in, allowing the brain and body time to rest and reflect is vitally important in the processing of this experience.

As I rest on my plane ride home, I think back to 2012 and how different my personal and professional lives are today.  This year I had the privilege of bringing two of my colleagues to ISTE for the first time. Our school recently receive a substantial grant that will allow us to propel our 1:1 Chromebook program forward and develop our curriculum and teachers in a way that deeply supports the rich learning we crave for our kids. We have a team of people that I love and trust and that push me to be better each day.

Today I love teaching. Today, I am braver than I have ever been. Today, I feel like I make a difference.

In this travel home, I think about how different I am as a teacher. It is sometimes tough to look back on who I used to be, but a worthwhile exercise. As we push forward, it is important for me to remember this moment. In another two years, I want this same experience. I want to look back and be different. I want to be braver. I want to think some of the things I did and said were silly and misguided. I want the growth to be obvious because that will be it is deep and real.

As I gain strength and let the experience of ISTE marinate in a calmer space, I will push myself and my team to take what we have seen, heard, and learned and push ourselves and our kids to have tougher conversations. I want us to feel safe to explore what we did not learn at this conference, what did not meet our needs, what still needs tweeking. I will remember that all good change comes in a time of acceptance and raw emotion, so I will try to be gentle with myself and others as we jump into the work ahead of us. I will keep in mind the reverse vision of growth I hope to see when I look upon this self in the future, and I will work to make sure that change is obvious.