Monday, October 6, 2014

SLOCUE Rocks! Reflections from working with a new CrUE

Reflections from 

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks working with SLO CUE with some Google Professional Development events and have had a blast. I definitely think I over extended myself a bit, not just with these two events but in conjunction with some other things going on in my life I have been a bit overwhelmed. Having these two events off my plate I am relieved and a bit more relaxed, but that is not to say the events were unpleasant in any way.

I wasn’t sure what I was walking into with these events. I was nervous. I was both over and under prepared. I presented on 3 different topics in 4 different sessions in 2 days over the course of 2 weeks. I was pleasantly surprised to get to work with great, funny, crazy smart people who are intent on helping other educators learn more to simplify their classrooms and push student learning to the forefront. I really enjoyed the people!

John Miller, the organizer, and his wife were gracious and fun, super fun! and super smart! I walked into the end of John’s session and realized, this guy has it going on! I need to get a topic that is so awesome that kids will show up on a Saturday morning to teach for me; because that is exactly what was happening! He had 4 students teaching a room of teachers! So impressed! The dedication that takes to develop that bond and community with students is not something that gets discussed, but clearly he has a way with his kids, and with his content that is pretty amazing.

Kevin Ashworth was one of those tweeps I finally got to meet in person. I am horribly socially awkward (I like to think like Temperance Brennan) but I can typically hide it in my social networking existence. I can because I am confident most of the time in my thoughts and my expertise of what I share that I know. (I typically stay away from topics that I don’t know much about, this helps, a lot!) Over the past couple of years I have followed Kevin (@slolifeKevin) on twitter and enjoyed participating in chats and discussing local education issues. He did the ‘I’m so and so thing’ that made me go, “Doh! Of course you are! I should have known!” when he recognized me and I didn’t recognize him. I hate that. But I am very glad he did it and I got to meet him in person.

Eric Jarvis was a gem of a gift to meet at these events. I really enjoyed his company! He is smart and funny and interested in taking everything back to work with his classes to try new things. My favorite kind of teacher! 

And there were others too, lots of them, that I hope to continue to have opportunities to work with and share with and learn from in the future!

There was also a large group of education students from Cal Poly. Way to go Nancy Stauch! It is SOOOO important to have teachers starting their careers with these skills in place and ‘normal’ instead of trying to backtrack and change habits and practice. I’m a total nerd, love all of it, and still struggle to put it into daily practice at times because I learned another way. It was so awesome to have young, fresh teachers interested in getting this stuff into their practice and into their habits. Yes! It has to start here!

Then there’s the Cue Folks.

Getting to work with Jon Corippo instead of being an audience member is a treat. Straight talk. He is really my favorite administrator out there. I do not agree with everything he says, but he can explain to me why he thinks something is right, and even better, he will listen to the other end. He won’t necessarily change his mind, but he’s open. And he has DAMN GOOD IDEAS. And he tells it like it is. AND he’s on everyone’s side. Really! I feel that from him every time I see him. He is the champion of teachers and the champion of students. We are on the same team afterall. Invigorating, and thought provoking. He makes me think about my daily practice, about what I could be doing better, and gives me simple steps that could help me get there.  
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(Seriously, where else do you learn to teach ratios with mullets!??)

Julie and Will Kimbley, Lisa Nowakowski, Joe Donahue are people I don’t see often (with my eyeballs), normally just via twitter and the other interwebs. It is great to get to interact in person, and chat and laugh with such great people!

I am so glad I chose to participate in these events. I got to meet new people, which is something that is not particularly easy for me, or any young parent/teacher. I got to think and do what I really, really love. This is where I feel good. This is where I enjoy being smart. This is where I thrive. This arena, professional development and working with other teachers on transforming practice to be better for learning, for students, for society. This is a good place for me.

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Or get caught by a Creeper!?