That’s what happened last week in Vancouver thanks to Dean Shareski and the team at Discovery Education Canada. The “Ignite” event brought 85 educators and parents from the lower mainland to share and learn from “slam presentations” from the likes of Chris Kennedy, Michelle Hiebert, Chris Wejr, Bryan Jackson, Karen Copeland and David Truss. These 5 minute power talks covered topics such as anxiety in students, developing empathy through assistance on the Downtown Eastside and seeing the connection between learning in the pool and in the classroom. And the best part of the night was not the food and drink or even the presentations (although they were awesome) but the chance to network and connect with such an outstanding group of people.
And as I was driving home, I started reflecting, not only on all the awesomeness from the night, but what my professional development has looked like in the past few years. You see, I have never been so passionate and excited about my own professional growth as I have been in the past few years. And as I began to think about the types of professional development I have been participating in, I realized that it has drastically changed from when I first started in education. No longer do I only attend “one off” sessions and conferences hoping to take a little something back to my educational setting. In looking at what I have been participating in during the past few years, it is clear that my professional development is dynamic and fluid. No wonder it’s so inspiring.
There is still value in the traditional, stand alone professional development opportunities. In February, our district will host Odyssey which is just such an event. And hearing what educators are doing in their classes and schools is amazing. However I have realized that it just isn’t enough to spend one day on professional development. The larger educational larger conferences, EdCamps, Ignite and Twitter have electrified my growth in the past few years. And all that passion comes with me back to my school.