October is always a busy time for teachers due to the first quarter ending and parent/teacher conferences starting up but yet we also have another thing to look forward to, educational conferences. At least in Iowa, October is when the educational conferences start up. We have ICTE (english teachers) next week, ITEC (ed tech) the week after and then the Iowa science and math teachers conference the week after that. There is also an ITAG conference thrown into the mix.
Even though there is so much going on in our school days, we can not forget about our own learning in this time. As teachers we should always be modeling how to learn to students and going to conferences to learn with our peers is a great way to do this. I would not suggest going to all of the conferences but I do think it is very important that we are constantly growing as educators.
I also think it is important to share out what we have learned with others. That is why I try to present at conferences at least a couple times a year and this year may be the time when I present the most. What is interesting is that I am not always comfortable talking to large groups of people due to the fact that I do still have hearing issues. I had major hearing issues as a kid and wore a hearing aid as well as had to have to work with a speech therapist in elementary school. Although this puts me out of my comfort zone, I feel it important to do as part of my growth process as an educator.
I am doing a session on digital feedback at ICTE, 2 sessions at ITEC (one over digital tools for leaders and one over differentiation using digital tools) and I have a proposal in to TIES in Minnesota for December. I submitted my proposal this week for ISTE next year in Philadelphia and I still may submit proposals for the Iowa 1 to 1 Conference and maybe one other that I am thinking about. You can find all of my presentation materials, even the ones that are a work in progress, under the Presentations tab on the top of my site.
Presenting at conferences is not just about sharing what you have learned and what you do but also a time to connect with other educators. It is very hard to do what we do by ourselves and it is through collaboration with others that we can be better. I enjoy running into old friends and making new ones at every conference that I go to as well as getting the chance to meet people who I follow on social media. These connections help me in the future and make it so I can keep my learning going strong. So my challenge to you is to make sure you are learning and connecting with others, find a conference to go to and attend sessions on topics you are passionate about but also ones that you are not, we have to make sure we are always learning.