Curious, anxious, excited, stressed, nervous, overwhelmed, enthused, uplifted, flabbergasted, blown away.
These are some of the words that describe my feelings these past few months. As I described in my post A Whole New World, since attending Kentucky's first Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) convening, my world has been thrown upside down and opened up beyond my widest dreams.
A few months after attending ECET2 KY, I was asked to be part of the committee to plan a regional convening. Those who know me understand that I LOVE to plan conferences; so after experiencing what ECET2 was all about, I eagerly jumped at the chance to help spread the movement into my neck of the woods. After hours of tireless collaboration with two amazing teachers @ruck1m and @NMcCutchen, the Green River Region ECET2KY was a big success. Teachers learned about the power of MAGIC from Jack Givens, legendary KY basketball player and my brother in law; discovered from Ali Wright, CTQ Teacherprener, that many countries around the world are providing more time for teachers to plan, collaborate and learn; and realized the importance of teaching and leading with a servant's heart from Owens Saylor, superintendent of Daviess County Public Schools. Participants experienced powerful breakout sessions surrounding the Common Core, social media, and teacher leadership. In colleague circles, teachers were able to dive deep into our profession and what it truly means to be a teacher leader. I was proud of our work and honored to be a part.
Then came the email; I was invited to the 4th annual national ECET2 convening in New Orleans. Yes! I made it to the big leagues, being one of 300 teachers from across the country about to be elevated and celebrated Gates Foundation-style! Friday evening we were led down Bourbon Street by a local high school marching band. Bystanders were taking photos; beads were flying everywhere. During the next 2 days, we heard some profound and inspirational stories from extraordinary teachers and leaders. I think I cried during each heart-felt story. Honest, thought-provoking discussions ensued during our Colleague Circles. Breakout sessions helped me better discover who I am and how I can go about change in my profession; even the slightest change can make a positive impact!
Words cannot truly express the impact this experience had on me. I am not a wordsmith and could not possibly share in words what this experience was like. That is why you need to read this blog post from genius writer Chris Bronke Keep The Flame Burning.
This video will give you a glimpse into ECET2NOLA and the power of teachers!
Because of these experiences, I now count many teachers across KY and the U.S. as dear friends, even though I may only chat with them on Twitter or Voxer. ECET2 has not only expanded my PLN, it has given me a new family!
Since NOLA, these adjectives now describe me: inspired, challenged, illuminated, motivated, elevated, and celebrated!