A Reflection on Learning at NCTCA 2016

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Shauna and I are all set to present!

Over the last two days, I had the opportunity to participate in my 11th Teacher’s Convention. I attended a few different sessions on Thursday including listening to @NuanceDrew a.k.a Drew Dudley speak about the Untaught Lessons. His message was an extremely powerful one and can essentially be summarized into a few short Tweets:

“Life is better the fewer times you have to say ‘I’m sorry’ ”

“Every time you talk about someone, act as if they are in front of you.”

“Choose EVERYDAY to matter to those who surround you”

“We need to teach students to LOVE their ‘normal’ and celebrate what others might consider weird and different”

“STOP living your life by someone else’s agenda! Live YOUR life according to YOUR agenda!”

“Figure out your story and share it”

“Add VALUE to the people whom you interact with everyday”

These last two Tweets resonated with me today as I prepared to present with my colleague, Shauna Bredo on “Inquiry in FSL”.  We were nervous. What if no one came? Wait…how many people have added us to their schedule? 51???? Okay, now it became, what if they all showed up? We were happy with the number that did show up as it was a manageable number (23 not including our Assistant Principal and our Inquiry Coach). I was trying to figure out how to share our story, our journey of using Inquiry in FSL while reiterating to the audience that we don’t have everything figured out! We are learning and trying and experimenting to see what works for us and for our students. I also wanted to be sure to add VALUE like @NuanceDrew suggested to these people who chose to attend our session. I wanted them to walk away with at least one thing that they might be able to use in their FSL classes next week. We received some positive face-to-face feedback at the end of the session from the attendees and I believe we were able to add VALUE to those that we interacted with today. My goal was accomplished!

It is a difficult thing to put yourself and your teaching out there like that but as I said to one participant whom had only been teaching FSL for one hour, “You just have to jump in with both feet and see what is going to keep you afloat and what is going to cause you to sink.” I am looking forward to the opportunity to present in the future. I know that both Shauna and I are already thinking of how we could improve our “Inquiry in FSL” presentation (adding examples of student work and student voice) as well as other sessions we could offer such as “Assessment in FSL” and “Sharing Session for FSL Teachers”. You never know, maybe one year from now, I will be writing another blog post regarding another presentation that I have done.

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