Sunday, April 10, 2016

What Great Educators Do Differently

This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the What Great Educators Do Differently conference in Katy, Texas. It was a smaller conference with high-energy presenters, ed-camp options, and lots of opportunities to connect with educators who are making an impact in schools across the nation. I love my district and the fantastic teachers I work with, but there is something validating about connecting with people you are NOT around every day, people that will open your mind and heart to new ideas.

LaVonna Roth, part of my PLN and wearer of glittery, silver flats. I wish I had photographed them. Her session focused on the Ignite Your Shine platform, which focuses on empowering team members to be confident, creative, and present. 

Jeff, my favorite partner. It's clear he is way more attractive than me. I loved the vibe of this conference because there were opportunities to visit with other educators, learn from each other, and pose questions, even in the sessions with a main presenter. I even stepped out of my comfort zone and proposed a topic for an edcamp session. I was amazed that 35 brilliant educators showed up to discuss ideas for moving high-perfoming campuses ahead and empowering teachers to challenge themselves to even greater teaching.

Todd Whitaker, keynote speaker

Todd is a quick talker and shoots straight. I appreciated how he focused on meeting the conference participants, listened to us, and shifted the focus from programs to people. Todd has published many books, focusing on effective leadership, teacher motivation, and school culture.

Pernille Ripp, my literary soulmate

Pernille is a mesmerizing speaker. She is confident, composed, and speaks from a genuine place that is grounded in her work with real students in her actual classroom. Her session made me miss teaching so much. Please check out her website; it's a treasure trove. I want her to do the audiobook version of every book I ever read the rest of my life, so I can listen to her voice and feel calm.

I highly encourage educators to check out the What Great Educators Do Differently conference. It is unlike other conferences I have attended. It did not market programs, formulas, or trendy ideas. The focus remained on those things that continually impact teaching and learning:
No excuses
Leverage technology for learning
Know your students
Celebrate your colleagues
Collaborate instead of compete

What are your favorite types of professional learning? What should I set my sights on next?
Books by authors I met...