I just got in from unpacking the car after an exhausting and thrilling week at TCEA’s state-wide convention in Austin, TX and now I have a moment to pause and sort out my thoughts before I go take a nap. (As you might suspect, this will be a short post. I really need the nap.)
First let me say that there is a great deal of talent, passion, and enthusiasm for technology in education in Texas. I have spent the week with several thousand people who genuinely care about educating YOUR children. Public school teachers in Texas are not lazy by any stretch of the imagination. They are not uncaring. They want nothing more out of life than to see your child succeed. They work in the face of impossible odds and with very little in the way of appreciation, either financial or social. They don’t need a lot. Texas teachers will teach your kids using old fashioned text books, pen and ink, or the newest SMART board and laptop. They don’t need a lot but they make use of anything and everything. This week I saw people using computers and robotics and I saw people using rubber bands and paper clips. Each was just a excited and committed as the other. Both groups are now home and reinvigorated and ready to teach on Monday, or at least they will be ready after a good night’s sleep.
To all the teachers who have spent the last week at TCEA I have some suggestions that will make the experience a bit more meaningful…
- Sit down ASAP and write down your impressions and thoughts about the past week. Don’t let all that experience go to waste. If you met someone interesting or who offered worthwhile information, write down their contact information and enter it into your phone or email address book. Make a committment to contact them and continue the relationship.
- Recopy any notes that you may have taken. Use OneNote or some other organizational aid to put what you learned in order. Don’t let all those brochures and handouts get wadded up into the bottom of a suitcase and tossed out with the trash. Organize what you brought back.
- Commit now to work next year. We need volunteers. Every member should spend at least one session as a facilitator or a worker at the TCEA booth or something. Much of the work for this convention is done by a very few people. Be one of them. Besides you get a really cool T-shirt that is different from everyone else’s and it is not one that can be bought or given as a door prize. The only way to get an “I can help you get connected” T-shirt is to earn it (or you could mug someone else who earned one but that would not be very nice).
- REST this weekend. Sleep late tomorrow. This convention stuff takes it out of you. Be ready to get busy on Monday. Get some sleep. Take a break tomorrow.
- Pick three things that really impressed you and implement or involve them in your classroom. Don’t try to cram everything in your notes into your daily routine but do incorporate three things. If one doesn’t work, choose another but you should be able to add three tools to your belt that will make your job easier, better, more effective, or more fun. Write the other things down and keep them for later but make sure you add three things when you go back to work.
- And finally, the most important thing you can do is go back to school and share what you learned. This is the purpose of the convention in a nutshell. “Learn and then Teach”. You have been given a great many opportunities, tools, and tips; share them. Give a class on something that impressed you. Build a document that all the teachers from your school can access. Just don’t waste what you’ve been given.
Well that is my take on it anyhow. I am going to start organizing my notes while I can still keep my eyes open and I will see you in the classroom on Monday.