This month, the #CompelledBloggers are focused on the theme of bringing joy, happiness and FUN to the workplace. It couldn’t have been better timing as I just wrapped up my time at the #NAESP19 conference in Spokane, WA and boy did we have fun! Now, for me, having fun isn’t just socializing and connecting with friends old and new, it’s getting the chance to learn new things, hear new ideas, and be inspired by like-minded educators. During the three day conference, I had the chance to attend the following sessions:
- Increasing School Engagement through Improved Communication Andy Jacks
- Keynote with Razia Jan
- Big 10 (State Rep) Luncheon
- 10 Ways every Educator can Be The One for Kids Ryan Sheehy
- National Panel for Aspiring Authors Dr. Brad Gustafson Allyson Apsey Julie Bloss Kaylen Tucker, PhD
- Leading the Whole Teacher Allyson Apsey
- Developing a Culturally Inclusive Organization with Equity in Mind Latoya Jeems Tia James
- Keynote with Michael Fullan
- The Exchange: Center for Innovative Leadership Hamish Brewer Andy Jacks
- #PrincipalsInAction – Get out of your Office and Connect with Others Mark French Jay Posick Ryan Sheehy
- Addressing the Poverty Mindset Hotep Na
- Keynote with Kwame Alexander
Each of these sessions were inspiring and I came away with many ideas that I want to share at my school. However, this was just the beginning. The real magic came from talking and sharing with educators across the country and the synergy that happens when passionate educators connect.
I’ve always been a fan of the quote “A rising tide lifts all boats” and that was demonstrated so many times at this conference. One of the evenings, a group of educators called #PrinicpalsInAction decided to get a group picture on the giant sized Radio Flyer wagon. This group connects through Voxer and Twitter and many of the members, I had only connected with online before the conference. While on the wagon for the group picture, I asked the person next to me how long he had been with the group. He shyly said that he was walking by himself and someone had told him about the group picture. When he said he wasn’t in the group, he was told “You are now!“. Later, he came out to dinner with the group and by the end of the conference, he had found his stride. I found out later in the evening that the person who invited him was none other than Hamish Brewer. Hamish is a bit of a celebrity in the education world, but what made him a hero that night was making sure ALL people were included. He casually mentioned to me that he had seen someone “looking a little lost” and had invited him along. THAT’S what makes conferences like this so special and fun to me. The idea that we are all in this together and we are here for one another and ready to lift everyone with a rising tide!
How do I bring joy, happiness and fun to my school? By following the example of those inspiring educators I have been fortunate to connect with. I want to make sure every child, every teacher, every staff member, and every family member feels included, empowered, and part of our school community. We are better together! Thank you to the amazing leaders at #NAESP19 who reminded me of that.
The adventures continue this week at the 2019 SEL Conference in Chicago, IL!