Sunday, April 27, 2014

Journey to Becoming a Better Teacher: LA Edition

Y'all know how much I love my job and how much I am committed to continuously improving at what I do.  I posted about going to a regional conference back in October. Since then I've attended our state and national conference.  The latter happened to be in beautiful LA this year. 

The conference was at the JW Marriott at LA Live, which means we were next door to the infamous Nokia Theater and Staples Center (this was the view from our room). An MTV Awards show was held at the Nokia Theater just days before we got there. And while the Lakers didn't have a game at the Staples Center while we were there, the Clippers did. We went to that game (though we later learned that we may not have been welcome - ha). On our last night in LA, I heard the song "The Man" being played on the loudspeaker outside -- then realized it wasn't a loudspeaker at all.  It was Aloe Blacc himself performing outside for the FIFA World Trophy Tour.  I watched it from my room. M and I love that song, so boy did I wish she was there to see it herself!

I hung out with some of my work fam, of course, and got to know another Alabama teacher who also teaches in our metropolitan area. 

There were four people out of our eight-person department who traveled to the conference this year. My co-worker (the taller one) was honored at the Presidents Reception as she is a former president of our national association.

We ran into some other Alabama teacher buddies. 
They also teach in our metropolitan area.

And then I ran into some other people I've met through Twitter and previous conferences. 

I met K two years ago in Boston.  He and I communicate every once in a while via Twitter. 

He gave me a little present this year -- a Canada pin (representing his home). 

B is an educator from Iowa that I met on Twitter earlier this year.

Shelly from Nebraska is another.

And while I didn't know B., I did know her colleague, who sent her my way. Always glad to meet new educator friends.

Speaking of which, this funny chic (from Delaware) and I sat at a table together and realized that we crossed paths in Philadelphia last fall at a completely different conference.  Small world!

And this sweet girl here: my blog sistah I "met" a few years ago when she and I started writing for the same young mother blog. I've kept in touch with her via Facebook and blogging, and was so thrilled to meet her in person.  She happens to be an educator, too (she teaches at the college level), but she was not an attendee at this conference.  She was there because LA is home for her.  I couldn't be in her neck of the woods and not try to meet up with her.  She came to my hotel after work one day and we had an awesome dinner date at a nearby restaurant. Love. Her.  So glad to have the opportunity to sit down with such an amazing woman.

The next day, my peeps and I headed for Santa Monica. SO BEAUTIFUL. 

Beautiful mountains in the background.

Guess who else was on this trip??


He's not coaching football anymore, so he has a lot more free time than all the years we've been together. It was a pleasure having him on this trip! He added another layer of fun!

Water was freezing.  
No clue how those folks in the background were enjoying themselves.

Though I'm still not sure if DK came for me or for this:

and this:


Last, but not least, this trip was special because of one more reason: I CO-PRESENTED A SESSION.

Never in a million years would I have done that if I weren't asked by my colleague.  I talk every day in front of a 125 teenagers, but it's a different story to present to a group of a national conference.  People from all over with different types of schools and situations, etc. The thought of it made me nervous.

But M (who, as I mentioned earlier, is the former national president) was presenting on recruiting and asked me to co-present with her -- focusing on the branding aspect. Of course I said yes.  I promised myself that I'd get out of my comfort zone this year...and by golly, this was WAAAAAY out of it.

The session went well!  I'm so glad I did it!  And I'm so glad to have colleagues who encourage me in these ways.  This same colleague is the reason I took on leadership roles at the state level and am now my state's membership director. So blessed to work with people who encourage me to progress in ways I probably would have never considered. 

It was a great trip!

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