For those of us who attend conferences one, two, or many times throughout the year, the real Takeaway is often the relationships created and the opportunity to breathe just a little bit away from the daily grind.
I am not a conference junkie by any stretch. For my own professional growth, I cherry pick maybe three conferences a year that I think are worth investing in. Here is my shameless plug for FALL CUE–this is one of them. Now it begs the question why?
The real take away that you cannot quantify on your expense report is the energy you get by playing sharing and taking risks with other educational leaders teachers and support staff that have a similar mindset to yours.
I do not like conference formats where you sit for an hour and listen to people talk about something or nothing and then get up go to the next room sit and listen for an hour.
I prefer conferences that allow you to create some product even if that product is a photo album because you did a gallery walk learning how to use tools on your phone. Much like our students, I believe I now as an educator can access anything I need online in real time if I need to learn or know something. The real Takeaway is when I can create content with peers and learn to take risks in an environment that promotes growth.
Just like our students — we are no longer content consumers — we also need to be stretched to be content curators and content creators.
Modeling in our own professional growth what we want to see our students doing in our classrooms is critical to make the connection.
I predict that conference attendance is going to begin to decrease as we discover the teachers administrators and support staff no longer have a need to attend a conference where they sit and get information dumps one hour at a time.
Attend conferences or create opportunities in your location that really feed your soul and allow you to explore and innovate. Be awesome in everything you do.