The last list dealt with sessions from the conference (the ones I attended and the ones I was presenting). In my sights post, I listed places learning happened outside of the conference center.
This post, though, is probably the most important.
More than the place or the learning, a great conference happens because of the people who are there and the connections that are made. This year continued the traditions of meeting up with online friends (some I have known for nearly a decade now), meeting up with long-time friends, and even throwing some family in the mix.
I was so nervous and more awkward than usual as I anxiously met many of my #artsedheroes face to face. I will never forget that first conference and how different it was this year; instead of feeling awkward and a little bit alone, I knew a friendly face around each corner and often met them with a hug and a smile. I am really proud of the relationships that have grown as a result of the connections I have made with other teachers at the conference and through social media.
It makes saying good-bye at the end of the conference not so bad, because I know I am going to see and hear from them soon.
1. From Online
These connections have led to keynotes in three States, published work, and so many ideas that have helped me become a better teacher and my students produce more meaningful work.
When I go to a conference, we swap stories of student success (and epic teacher fails) and laugh a lot in the process. We catch up on families, hometown happenings, and future endeavors. I am not sure if I will be at #NAEA17, but one thing that would draw me there is my #artsedPLN.
2. From School
We were both enrolled in the Master of Arts in Art Education program at Western Michigan University. As a part of our Alternative Photo Processing class, we took an overnight trip to Chicago and toured many of the museums listed in this post. During that short time, Carrie and I became fast friends (she talked me into join MAEA and presenting at my first conference).
We were also roomies.
So when it comes to conferences, we try to room together (as we did this year) making our "roomie" pic ever so fitting.
3. From Family
When I tell anyone that, they automatically make the leap that she must be the reason why I also became an Art teacher. I used to really deny that as even a possibility, but who am I kidding? Of course my older sister (the person I grew up idolizing and annoying) had an impact on my choice to become a teacher.
I am so glad she has gotten back into teaching and attending conferences with me. I am thankful for her friendship, understanding, and ability to let me be me.
We may not always be on the same page, but we are part of the same book.
I am thankful she is my sister and that I have family with which to share this experience. Although, I am sure we were both ready to go to our respective homes after several days of continuous contact...