Saturday, September 27, 2014

Deep Breath and Move Forward

First blog post EVER! Thank you to my PLN, my staff, students and my family for constantly inspiring me to be the best Lead Learner that I can be.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend, present and keynote a TED talk at the #NJPAECET2 conference held in the Rariton Valley Community College.   It was a cross between a traditional PD workshop and an Edcamp unconference, where only 150 educators were invited to attend.

What an amazing two days of professional development, collaboration and networking it was.  

To be honest with you when my PLN (Professional Learning Network) friend, Barry Saide (@barrykid1) first invited me into the core organizational team I had no clue what this event was.  As time progressed, the project evolved into an outstanding event that celebrated educators.  The scheduling of presenters did not look like an easy task, but when your working with Liz Calderwood (@Liz1544), Kate Baker (@KtBkr4), and Jeff Bradbury (@Teachercast) it was a breeze.  Trust me, they are great people who you need to follow.

The week before the conference I was very excited and honored to present sessions on Digital Citizenship: Are we proper role models; and Flipped Faculty Meetings. Yet, little did I know I would also be one of three keynote speakers during the dinner hour of the conference.

You see, the weekend before the conference, Barry and I were direct messaging each other on Twitter about various topics, which eventually morphed into how I believed everything happened for a reason.  I proceeded to share many events in my life that I had only shared with less than a handful of people, to Barry, a friend I meet up with at a few Edcamps and many times on Twitter.

The following morning while at work, I received an email from Barry asking if I would be willing to share my story as a keynote speaker for a TED talk at #NJPAECET2.  After several emails and DM's back and forth, he convinced me to take a step forward and share my story.  

I have spoken in front of many crowds, teachers, parents, and students in my lifetime, but never had I shared my story.  The story of how I had it all in athletics and had no desire for education until I lost it all.  I shared that as a Connected Lead Learner in my building, I constantly provide students and staff with something I never had in my life, which was passion and motivation for education. I try to provide a culture that promotes students to care about their work and that they mean something.

As I stood up in front of the room, I just took a deep breath and moved forward in telling my story.  When I was done, I was shocked to see many people in the audience giving me a "Standing O".  This past week, I have received many tweets and blog postings stating how inspired they were by my speech.

I am sincerely grateful for the kind words and I am glad that I was able to inspire many educators to share their passions in education to their schools upon their return.  Yet, it is my motivation and educational philosophy that each student and staff member sees true greatness in themselves and that having an education is a powerful key to future success.

So as you greet your students and colleagues each day, ask yourselves if you are truly giving them your best and do they know you care?