Feed family dinner (quickly). Check. Pack. Check. Do one more load of laundry for the people staying home. Check.
Check in for flight online. Check. Schedule Shuttle Van service. Check. Go to bed…!
NCTE, here I come!
I’m listening to my Voxer app on the phone, and I hear my friends joyously celebrating their NCTE conference experiences. I finally met my Good-to-Great friends from Twitter’s #g2great chats of the last 6 months! A fabulous light turned on in my brain, and in my heart — meeting my virtual-to-real-life pals! Dr. Mary Howard, Amy Brennan, Jeanne-Marie Mazzaferro, Jenn Hayhurst, and Jill DeRosa presented “Making Powerful Connections Across the Twitterverse: Using Social Media to Become Agents of Change” on Friday morning. I had traveled 10 hours to hear this session, and support the people who lit my fire — the biggest professional change in my life to date. They were fabulous!
The ladies began the session by introducing themselves and their roles as leaders in their school systems. As tech-savvy people, they explained how they began using Twitter and Voxer, as well as other media, to work together across the country in the best interests of the students. This “grassroots support system,” described in the NCTE program, is a never-ending journey of inspiration and motivation for the teachers who use it. Kylene Beers spoke about Twitter over two years ago as wonderful (and free!) PD for teachers. I joined Twitter then, and found that she was right. Last fall, I learned about Voxer from my daughter. Many teachers I follow on Twitter were using Voxer for their PLNs and team meetings. Later, the Good-to-Great team allowed me to join them in the learning and sharing of best literacy practices. My life has transformed! Truly, the reason I feel like I’m a “connected” educator now is that these “agents of change” changed me!
During the question-and-answer part of the session, I looked to my left and saw a young teacher using Twitter on his phone. He looked a little confused, so I went over to sit by him. He asked me, “How does this work, exactly? What do I do?” I was happy to show him how easy it was to find a #g2great chat (Thursday nights at 8:30 pm) and we traded Twitter handles. I told him of the last series of topics discussed during the chats, and his face started to light up (I KNEW that feeling!). I got such a warm-fuzzy feeling that I was the fan-turned-ambassador of the #g2great community.
Now I’m rereading the NCTE book, and I am so excited to be a part of the “ideas that flourish into tangible results.”
Join the chat! #g2great on Thursday evenings at 8:30 pm EST. I look forward to meeting you there!
PS: Thank you to Dr. Mary Howard, Amy Brennan, Jenn Hayhurst, Jill DeRosa, Jeanne-Marie Mazzaferro, Dani Burtsfield, Justin Dolcimascolo, Kari Yates, Erica Pecorale, Lisa Eickholdt, Kathryn Hoffmann-Thompson, Joan Moser, Julieanne Harmatz, and all the other “Good-to-Greaters,” for your friendship and support. I’m so glad we are REAL friends now!
No, I wasn’t able to attend the NCTE Conference. Woe is me. (Aw, quit feeling sorry for me — I’m fine!) I am a life-long learner who loves to travel to educational conferences. “Weirdo.” I know. But that’s what I like to do. Back in May, I asked my principal if I could attend two conferences this year. One event I really wanted to attend was the NCTE 14 Conference at the beautiful Gaylord Resort in National Harbor. I’ve never been to Washington, D.C. before. I was ready to see some new sights and take part in the best PD opportunity of the fall! She said, “You could do that one.” But when it came down to filling out the paperwork, life happened. Time, money, family obligations, just happened at the wrong time this year. (Don’t get me started on the year — 2014 will NOT be missed!)
I logged on to Facebook and Twitter and signed up for the mobile app for NCTE14, hoping that attending virtually would help me to get over the mental pain of staying home. I have to say, it was nice to stay home in my warm pajamas on Wednesday, getting up at my regular weekday time instead of 4:00 a.m. to catch a plane to D.C. It was cold and windy! However, the relief soon turned to anxiety as I heard friend after friend, author after author, role model after role model, land at the airport and start preparing for their presentations and dinners and fun! Oh, to miss out was torture!
I was home, though, attending to work and family. I did get to go out to dinner, see my nephew for his birthday, and relax for the weekend. I used social media for hours, reading about and “Tweeting” with those who were there. It was nice to hear how much learning soaked up in the minds of the participants. Everyone shared their stories and pictures. (Thank you!) Although jealously reared its ugly head, I was also excited to “see” and “hear” about the reunions of the great people I have admired from afar for many years. The “Slicer” dinner looked absolutely fabulous, and I was there in spirit. Many fellow Slicers commented to me and I felt welcome — even though I was only watching my iPad screen. “Next time,” I said.
“Story is the Landscape of Knowing.” My story starts and ends in Indiana, but stories are everywhere. My story is not new, nor is it significant in the overall scheme of things. One lesson I learned from the NCTE Conference this year is that NEXT TIME I will be a part of the landscape, paying my way if necessary. I KNOW that life is a journey, and I KNOW that my story will be told — as an insider — next year!
And since next year will NOT be 2014, nothing can stop me!
(To all those who shared with me via Facebook and Twitter, again I thank you for your generosity! I’m so glad you all had a great time at NCTE!)
I’m starting a new club — who wants to join?
Requirement for my club: You will NOT be attending the FABULOUS NCTE conference at the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor this week! (#NCTE14)
I WAS going, but…you know, life. And money. And work. Well, I will definitely be logged in on Twitter and Facebook to see all the wonderful learning posts and all the reunion comments by those in attendance. I will be working, going to the orthodontist with my daughter, grading reading and writing notebooks, and attending a parent conference. Later this weekend, I will complain of the cold, make some crock pot dinner, and watch movies with a cup of hot tea. Then, I will try to get some Christmas shopping done, pay the bills, and read more books. Finally, I will let the dog out, write some essays, and get some sleep… and dream of “next time” –when I will be able to attend the conference and meet all of my Slicer friends in person!
Have a great week everybody!