"Something has changed within me, something is not the same. I'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game. Too late for second guessing, too late to go back to sleep. It's time I trust my instinct, close my eyes, and leap. It's time to try defying gravity..."
"Defying Gravity," Wicked, the musical
Attending the Reform Symposium Worldwide e-Conference has truly been life changing experience and probably the best professional development so far in my career. The lyrics above came to mind as I realized that something within me really has changed and I am transforming as an educator. Throughout the symposium I was amazed at the transparency of each presenter who so freely shared their experiences, knowledge, resources, ideas, inspiration, and encouragement. As if someone has switched on a lightbulb, I have an entirely new understanding and enjoyment of collaboration, community, and Web 2.0 tools thanks to this event.
Prior to RSCON3, I was not on Twitter. It became glaringly clear to me after participating in my first two sessions that I was missing out, so @ICETeacherSara was born and my transformation as an educator had begun. I hadn't joined Twitter because I thought I didn't need another social media tool. However, in two days time I've come to realize that Twitter is an extraordinary, powerful, and essential tool for educators. Many thanks to Shelly Terrell for unknowingly helping me learn this lesson!
Each presenter had so much relevant information and many inspiring words of wisdom. I look forward to posting more as I implement my new learning in my classroom (less than two weeks now!). I would like to touch on one take-away thought that really stood out to me. Chuck Sandy spoke about the Design for Change School Challenge initiative, whose mission can be summed up with five words:
Feel Imagine Do Share Continue
These five words have resonated loudly within my educator conscience. This may become my new mantra and challenge to myself as an educator and a challenge to my students. Chuck Sandy also reminded us that Ghandi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Now more than ever in education, I feel this quote is a call to action to roll up my proverbial sleeves and take action on my new learning and inspiration.
As I prepare for the new school year, I will rethink the four walls of my classroom and model what it means to be a global citizen. I will learn (however painful and difficult it may be!) to give up some control and give my students ownership of their learning. I will value individuality, create community, involve parents, embrace social learning and Web 2.0, and share my experiences and resources. Above all, I will continue to be a passionate and enthusiastic educator of the children who are the present, here and now.