powerful moments in education
I had to buy a new desk chair today. It was inevitable for 2 reasons: First, I start class 2 of 4 in my teaching online program today- Creating and Facilitating Online Learning Communities. Second, EdCamp Boston gave me around 1,000 reasons to be attached to my Mac today. My poor, tired iPad gets a day off anyway. The amount of swiping and tricky typing I did on it yesterday was astounding…but delicious.
Why couldn’t I sleep the night before EdCamp? Well, to quote @dancallahan, a co-founder from Burlington, MA, “At edcamps I feel like I am closer to being the kind of teacher I want to be.” I knew it was going to be an event of heightened excitement, a place where it was totally acceptable to have wandering feet, fingers, and minds, all with the intention of learning more deeply instead of being deeply bored. Since I have Muppets on the brain (read this post linking Muppets to PBL by Michael Milton @42thinkdeep) I will say it was quite like realizing you truly belong somewhere, that you are, in fact, a muppet, not a man.
Holy cow. What a place of equity in passion and positive spirit for the profession and for education for American students. In a profession where so much conversation is wasted on teacher hours and how the world doesn’t understand us and so on and so on, that conversation did not exist at EdCamp. This is a group of people that are living and teaching NOW- a profession we chose-and we are choosing to be professional and move f-o-r-w-a-r-d, regardless of politics or cynicism.
On a somewhat side note, there is something exhilarating about seemingly hidden societies aren’t there? Think of movies like The Skulls, Fight Club, Dead Poets Society, to name a few. Why do we love them? We wonder if they really exist and want to know what makes them tic. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but as I wandered around the building, I did have some level of excitement to glance at each person’s Twitter @handle scratched across the name tag. It was like this living, breathing being came to life on among the hallways of the Microsoft New England Research Development building. The thing is, education Tweeters are anything BUT secret. “Sharing is caring” is the comment I see most often when I weave through streams and chats on Twitter. And why NOT put real faces to the connections on Twitter! It was not only possible, it was necessary to strengthen the confidence of teachers and professional empowerment of this PLN.
What existed yesterday were creative professionals of all ages, male and female, (as well as a handful of high school students!) exhibiting the exact traits we want to pass on to our students- be innovative, ask questions, be resourceful and most importantly- Be each others’ teachers! Who : 1. figures out a free event with 3 meals (ok, 2 1/2) in the gorgeous Microsoft building in Cambridge, and 2. goes with no agenda, but rather equipped with electrified faith that the schedule board will fill with the intellectual concoctions from fellow educators, and 3. schedules an experience-rich day of learning in a non-judgemental, collaborative format?
We do. So do not be afraid, world. You may read horror stories about “failing” states, or schools, or rude “teachers” but those are old news- they are not the force that is EdCamp. I am humbled and honored to share a mindset with all of you.