When I was first invited to send in my teaching story, I was a little stumped. I have given keynotes and presentations before, so the public speaking part wasn't a big problem.
It was the prompt.
I am used to talking about my classroom and what my students are doing and how I teach them using various tools. For this keynote, I had to start thinking about my teaching story and my journey to the teacher I am today.
With some help from an amazing speech coach, my friends, and family, I was able to deliver my story to a very generous and loving crowd of teachers last Saturday.
I explained my struggles as a learner and how I was able to gain confidence by being given a leadership opportunity in dance. I tried to model my transformation as a teacher by reliving what it felt like to receive three pink slips over the course of 18 months and use that feeling of failure to fall forward, rather than give up.
I talked about Anna, who I use often as an example in my talks, and how she went from a student who wrote "I am not an artist," to a National Gold Medalist at the Scholastic Awards and celebrated at Carnegie Hall within one year. And I talked about how her transformation is linked to mine because we both embraced our creativity and were willing to share it with others online to help us grow even more.
I have had an awesome four days in sunny California (and I must have brought some of that sun back to MI today), but I am even more excited to bring back the amazing things I learned to the teachers I get to work with and the students I get to teach.
I will share more later, but for now you can view my keynote experience below.