Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Encouragement and Community: NTPRS 17

Photo by Daniel Collins
It is hard to know where to begin. I learned a ton and experienced a thousand new ways to do something that I already love to do, only better.  I tried try new things and took big risks.  For example: the can-can in front of my colleagues!

My iPad notes are covered with scrawls and pictures and highlighted with "don't forget" and "TRY THIS".  I learned so much this year. More on that later.

But perhaps my biggest takeaway this year is how badly I need my CI colleagues.  How much I need friends who are serious SLA geeks and want to listen to Tea with BVP and get excited to talk about Standards Based Grading.  People who believe the same things I do about second language acquisition, who are influenced by the same thinkers that inform my practice, and who want  communicative competence AND equity and work-life balance and who are passionate, even nerdy about this stuff.

I have great colleagues in my school and an A+ administrator who supports me and challenges me to be the best I can be.  I am fortunate.

But what I needed from NTPRS was the feeling that we are all in this together.

But what I needed from NTPRS was the cheerleading, the support, the goofy songs, the feeling that we are all in this together, and we are a strong, loving community, even if we are spread out around the country and world.  I needed the late night conversation about coaching in my unique school environment and brainstorms about how to work with some tricky situations.  I needed to hear how someone else solved a problem, and to be challenged to answer "why do you do that."  I needed to be told about what I do well, so I can continue to grow and be proud of my successes.  (Thanks, coaches!) I needed to take risks:  to get up in front of my peers and demo teach, then demo coach, then coach for real!

Notes, using Noteshelf iPad app

So, while I brought back pages of notes and ideas for my classroom, for how to be a better leader and coach for my colleagues, and more, my biggest take away is...feeling thankful for a week of encouragement, leadership, and positivity.

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