Thanksgiving dinner has now been cooked, served and cleared and my family and I have survived swollen bellies and the post-turkey stupor. Today I am looking back to solidify my learning and to help me find direction for what comes next this school year. Now that I am reflecting, here's what my convention takeaway is:
WE HAVE SO MUCH!
But, let me explain a bit.
As World Language Educators, we have SO MUCH...
- to professional learning that can transform our thoughts on our teaching.
- to the experts and leaders in our field who are not only willing to share their knowledge, but their time, too, to coach the future leaders in our field!
- to resources that can enrich our instruction and the learning experiences we create for our students.
- to educators just like us who are dealing with the same challenges and triumphs that we are.
- to connect with and learn from.
- to have conversations with, and these conversations can be more important than sessions, sometimes.
- to collaborate with and to push the limits of language education in our country.
- to reach out to for support, encouragement, challenge and inspiration.
- to remind us where our "true north" is.
- to network and grow the community.
- to find what we have in common despite differences in methodologies.
- to respectfully agree to disagree when we don't.
- to respect each other's contributions to the field, journeys and gifts for the sake of the whole profession.
- to stop labeling ourselves with anything other than World Language Educators because any other labels are divisive.
- to protect the greater community from our own need to be RIGHT.
- to share our learning via blogs, social media and presentations to help all of us to be better.
- to hold each other accountable for what world language education should be and what professionalism is.
- to find moments to just be people together because, as amazing as we all are as educators, we are even better people, and a lot of fun, too!
- to keep learning and growing so that we can become better and better teachers.
- to take risks, launch new ideas and projects.
- to collaborate with respected colleagues from across the country and around the world!
- to step up into positions of leadership and influence to move the profession forward.
- to reach out to educators who are not yet connected and fold them into the community
- to keep networking with like-minded educators to stay fresh and in the know.
- to push each other to try those new ideas and then fan each other's flames!
- to keep moving forward, but to always look back and pull others along with us.
- to advocate for our profession and not leave it up to others to do for us.
- to coach the next generation of world language teachers, presenters, state organization leaders, future coordinators and supervisors to ensure our future is a strong and bright one!
- to never assume that because we have converted to proficiency that all have. We are no where near the tipping point yet! There is more work to do!
These are just some of my takeaways from #ACTFL15, but my most treasured takeaway is the group of colleagues I have who have become more like family to me than a professional learning network. Jane, Greg, Shelli, Katherine, Jason, Sara Elizabeth, Kara, John, Laura, Bethany, Heather, Megan, Karen, Carrie, Thomas, Alyssa, Helena, Greg D. and so many more of you, THANK YOU for all you do to encourage me and hold me accountable. I hope that I do the same for you! Thank you for friendship! Thank you ACTFL for giving me a time and place to connect with these people face to face!
P.S. Thank you to all the amazing Uber drivers who made #ACTFL15 possible this year!
Happy Coaching, friends! AND Happy Holidays!