EdCamp is a conference that is an unconference. Bright eyed, bushy tailed, with caffeine in hand over 200 participants congregated in a high school library at Delta Secondary School; board members, administrators, teachers, parents, AND students! Going in there are no set topics for discussion, everything is decided on the day in person. Participants are encouraged to suggest topics they wish to discuss and post them on a bulletin board. From there all participants are encouraged to vote on which topics they want to make happen. Voting yesterday was done with stickers; each participant was given 4 stickers to place on the topics we wanted. (Last year we were given post-it notes). Then the fun begins, a short welcome for the day, you turn around and voila the schedule of the day is posted; room numbers, times, topics and all. With a buzz in the air we were off!
Making connections with the people I have spent the last few months with tweeting with. Getting to put a face to a name. Having this face-to-face interaction allows for deeper connections and relationships to be built. I am able to embrace these newfound relationships, to embrace the energy and the drive that they provide me, to embrace the encouragement I have to try new things and to persevere when they’re not successful the first time. These connections help rejuvenate me and my desire to challenge myself! Sure, I’m still feeling a little burnt out, who doesn’t; but I feel that I can push through, break through the barrier and come out on top.
Of course there was plenty of opportunity to reconnect as well. Not only was I able to reconnect with those I had met at previous EdCamps, I was able to reconnect with a fellow teacher that I had not taught with in the past couple of years, Tracey D. We were able to reminisce about the times we had working together, how things always seem greener on the other side (why is that?). We had a great time catching up on the changes we’ve both made professionally, along with the moves we’ve made in our personal lives.
Furthermore, I was able to reconnect with what is important, my passion for teaching!. I have been struggling recently with frustrations that directly impact my self-importance and my teaching position. These frustrations of course have an impact on my teaching, as a result affect my students learning. It's not their fault I'm experiencing frustration, so why should they be the ones to suffer. Well, yesterday gave me the opportunity to reflect and to reconnect with my desire to teach. I became a teacher, not for the money, not for the politics but for the students. To teach the students, to share their lives, to share their successes, and to share their failures; these are the reasons I became a teacher. For the chance to make a difference.
At the end of the day, I was exhausted. I had been so thoroughly engaged my mind needed a break. I took last night to sit and to reflect, of course jotting some notes down along the way. I don’t want to forget all the valuable ideas that were shared. I need to focus. There are so many possibilities for change, that I couldn’t possibly implement them all without overwhelming myself or my students.
Where do I want to focus my focus? After a lot of thought, I have decided that I want to place more of an emphasis on inquiry-based learning and in Genius Hour. It’s my hope that students will become more engaged and less passive in their learning.
I can do this! I can and I will challenge myself and my students in our learning together. I know I can do this; I have the support of those that I have connected with and reconnected with.
PS. If you ever have a chance to attend an EdCamp – DO IT! Don’t pass up the opportunity to connect and to reconnect with those who share a passion for education.
PPS. Sign up for EdCamp35, it’s being held on April 12th, 2014 in Langley, BC. I’ll be there, will you?