Saturday, October 22, 2011

Learning As I Go

One thing about being a teacher of business and technology is that my content is always changing.  Every year (every DAY for that matter) there's something new and exciting going on in my area.  It's truly one of the things that makes my career so sweet.

Since I've been a teacher, I've attended conferences here and there.  This past year was the first time I attended my state, regional, and national conference all in the same year, and boy have I learned a lot.  This past week, I got the opportunity to meet and network with teachers from my own state as well as teachers from Florida, Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

I mingled with these top notch teachers and professors and learned from greats like Misty Freeman (among others).  I also represented my state as a Leadership Delegate at this conference and was given the awesome opportunity to attend a session with Dr. Patricia Moody.  LOVED HER. She held a session for the delegates, and I walked out of that room feeling lucky to have even met her.

You go to these conferences knowing half of what they are going to tell you, but being reminded of some of these things is priceless and always seems to come on time.  Here are some things Dr. Moody shared with us between all the awesome conversations and activities (mostly about leadership):

  1. Get up every morning with the drive to "beat" yourself.  Always strive to be better than the  ______ (insert your name here) you knew yesterday.
  2. When she asked everyone on the spot to list good things about themselves, you'd be surprised how many of us came up with only a few things.  She said if she'd asked us to list bad things about ourselves, the list would have come easy.  She said that we need to start focusing on the POSITIVES about ourselves and build on those great things.
  3. Don't do everything by yourself.  I'm particularly guilty of this -- personally and professionally (because I tend to think that MY way is the best for ME, and that's not always necessarily the case) -- and I've truly got to work on this.
  4. Be willing to fail.  And admit your mistakes.  You've got to make it so that your people know that it's okay to make mistakes and learn from them.  Leave room for imperfections. It's how we grow.
  5. Failing is okay, but constantly pursue excellence.
  6. Great leaders make people WANT to follow them.  Make your climate one that everyone wants to work in.
  7. Pull people along with you -- don't PUSH them.
  8. Dare to be different.  Get out of your comfort zone.
  9. Be an active learner.
  10. You can't be super at everything.  You can't be good at everything at the same time.
The last one hit home with me.  Here is this woman who raised two children with her husband and climbed the career ladder to be one of the most respected in the profession, and she simply told us that everything at home and work won't be perfect at the same time.  Boy, I needed to hear that.  She particularly said that if you clean that dust off your coffee table every day, know that it's coming back tomorrow.  Spend time with your children instead.  I am a big advocate for this whole mentality, and it felt good to know someone I admire feels the same way.   

At the conference, I also got a chance to attend some great sessions that focused on instructional strategies and innovative products to better meet the needs of today's students and teachers.  I even got a great contact I could use for my EdS field project.  I also got a chance to briefly chat with both of my professors for this semester, and I walked away feeling better!

The older I get, the more I see how beneficial it is to be involved in professional associations.  And that really applies to ANY profession.  The networking and knowledge you get by being involved is truly priceless.  I am lucky to have -- literally next door to me and across the hall from me in my very own department at school -- former state officers and last year's national president. I'm not sure I'll ever want to hold such high offices, but I know that I am literally surrounded by greatness.  I'd be stupid not to soak up every little thing I can learn from them.

Anyway, just wanted to share a little about my experience this past week.  I don't blog enough about my career and aspirations, and they're obviously a big part of my life.  Maybe I'll try to do a little better with it.  I wish I could say that I'll blog more about my awesome students and amazing school, but I've never felt comfortable with that (plus, it's sorta illegal).  So I'll stick to the general stuff. :)

Hope everyone's having a great weekend.  After waking up at 2:00 AM to catch a super early flight that ended up being delayed three hours, it was great to finally making it home.  Morgan and I had lunch with my mom today and then came home and did a few things around the house.  Before I knew it, it was her bedtime.  And I all of a sudden had the energy to post this to the blog.  Yay me.  (See?  Celebrating myself already.)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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