Saturday, February 23, 2008

Yeehaw Convention Time

First thing that I have to say is that I love conventions. I get to see old acquaintances (I don’t say friends because not all of them are). I also get to learn new ideas. I love hearing people talk about things that they are passionate about. And face it - if you are not passionate about your subject don’t waste my time with a PD session.

I don’t really understand people who skip conventions, especially ones with as many choices as Showcase. (I am not picking on people who use this time to go on a major trip – that in itself is a type of personal development.) Do you already know everything?

It took me almost an hour to pick what sessions I wanted to go to. I had a hard time. There were about 12 sessions I was interested in and only 4 slots that I could attend. I find that to be a happy problem.

I almost skipped an afternoon of my convention once. It was a tiny little convention and there really wasn’t very much that caught my eye. For that one session that I had trouble filling I almost skipped my convention. I was going to go to another division’s convention. It was right next door - with no nametags – or security. I still wish that I had.

Let’s go back to being passionate about your subject. I was a co-facilitator at a convention once. My apologies to anybody who went to the session “Thinking Outside of the Cracker Jack Box – 7 Simple Rules to Liberating Your Inner Child.” A co-worker and I put in a session application just to see how much we could get away with. We wrote a catchy title and vague description filled with lots of education buzz words. The organizing committee never even batted an eye and we were given a conference slot. No questions asked. (They must have been desperate). Our reaction? Uh oh – we got away with it, now what do we do? Well we ran with it. We even had fun. And got paid for it. Oh yeah.

Was I passionate about my subject? Not fanatically. Did I believe in it? Well I believed that the joke was funny and yes I did actually believe in the subject. How did it go over with the audience? Only one person got up and left…… Perhaps I should elaborate. This particular conference did not actually have a lunch break. The expectation was that we would go to 4 out of the 5 sessions and take one off for lunch. So the general consensus among teachers was to take the first four sessions and skip the last one. Guess who was scheduled during session 5 on Friday. Well we managed to attract a half full room and got an audience that participated in the session. I thought that was not too bad. No we did not let them in on the joke.

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