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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Struggle!

So today was hard for a variety of reasons.
One of my "lovely little handfuls" went 0 to 100 real quick. I felt bombarded with tasks separate from teaching. AND THEN they voted Devos in....

& then I packed my bags

Okay so not really, but it crossed my mind. Like, legit crossed my mind.

I was distraught that someone who seems so underqualified could be put in such a crucial position. I was disappointed that our record breaking amount of calls and emails did not achieve our desired result.

We united! We spoke up! And you muted us for money! (I assume, I can be totally wrong)

So now what? Sulk and cry? Maybe for a minute. But afterwards we must do what we always do.

Despite the pay
Despite the stress
Despite the critiques & criticism
Despite the new secretary....

We will continue to teach. We must. The future depends on it. And even when others ignore it, we will focus on what is best for our kids.

So wake up tomorrow and TEACH!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Teaching Conferences - You going?

As teachers we commit to being life long learners. But this learning doesn't just come from school professional development sessions. Conferences are a great way to meet other teachers, learn something new, and refresh your teaching practices.

So where do you start?

  • Google your educational interests
    - Do you love using technology? Look for the latest STEM conference.
    - Love TPT? They are now holding yearly conferences! And I hear they are amazing! I am trying to convince my husband but it is the day after our anniversary so....
    - All about 1st grade? Look for conferences focused on that grade specifically like "I Teach 1st!"
I Teach 1st Conference - 2015

  • Look through Organizations
    - Are you a member of your teaching association? ( I am! And proud of it!) Look at their upcoming events. Our association has events monthly! I just attended a New Teacher Retreat with teammates and met our TEA President! I also got an article published in our local TEACH newspaper! Talk about member benefits!

  • Check good ol' Social Media
    - Connecting with teachers online has sooo many benefits! One of those benefits is that typically when they find a good conference, they share about it. If you see a teacher posting about a exciting new workshop, look into it!
    - I follow some great teachers who present at conferences. When they post about where they will be next I start looking into it if my schedule & finances agree :)

What next?

  • Location!
    -If you're willing to travel you can definitely expand your search range. But if you know you want to stay nearby look for conferences in your region. I live in southeast TN so I look for events in Nashville, Atlanta, etc.

NEA Conference in Atlanta - 2014

  • Funding
    - Depending on the type of school you work in, you may have funds available for teacher P.D. and conferences. That is how I was able to go to I Teach 1st! Your administrators will be your best source of information on this.
    - Many conferences offer discounts by applying early so if you see an event you really want to go to, apply early!
    - Try to set aside a little each month (or every other month) to save towards your profession. You could use this to buy a new book that may further your skills or register for a conference.

  • Need a Sub?
    - You will need administration approval for conferences that require you to miss work. My administrator has always been understanding & encouraging. In our area this is considered a professional day.
    - Plan for a substitute. Leave clear instructions and materials that are meaningful but easily accessible. If you can talk to the class before you may want to assign student helpers.

  • Pack well!
    - Some teachers have made super cute packing lists online you can find. The one in my picture  is from Enchanted Kindergarden . You can also Google : teacher conference packing list
    - Essentials: Notebook, writing tools, professional/comfortable clothing, comfortable shoes, toiletries, phone charger
    - Any registration materials
    - A little just in case cash
    - Business cards if you have them! (If you don't you should definitely consider them!!)

  • Enjoy!
    - Take good notes. Be ready to share some highlights!
    - Have fun
    - Make new friends! Seriously, networking matters! These are your people! And the connections can last beyond that one event.
So what tips would you add? What are your favorite conferences? I'd love to hear from you!