2 weeks of class.
Content was worthwhile and presented in ways that enabled real learning, even though it was probably frustrating for the presenters/facilitators/teachers because we were typing and texting and playing with our video cameras.
Yeah, you heard me, our video cameras. We each got one. And learned tons of ways to use them. When we went to iFly, the leader laughed and took a picture of all of us filming the wind tunnel demo.
We went to iFly to learn how to use the wind tunnel in our science classes. And then we all got to fly in it. Twice. I learned a lot about learning, about pushing myself (the slightly re-dislocated shoulder was SO worth it!), and about using the resources in our area even though they're incredibly expensive.
Presenters (I'm calling them "presenters " and "participants" because we're all teachers and students) didn't take themselves too seriously. People just stood up and talked about what they knew. Yes, I'm sure they prepared, but it wasn't about them imparting knowledge, it was about putting information out there for all of us. Participants were asked to present on areas of expertise so that everyone could learn even more.
We get college credits for this (that will push me to the next salary step!). We get paid for this!
And, according to an email I received today, they're giving us tickets to the celebrity forum! I, with a guest, will be hobnobbing and rubbing elbows and whatever else you call it as we go to listen to such interesting and inspiring people as Resa Azlan, Yo Yo Ma, Captain "Sully," Tony Blair, and a couple other people whose names I don't remember right now.
All this makes me feel like somebody actually cares about my profession. The fancy schmancy businessy-type folks don't look down on me because I'm "just" a teacher, they support me so that I can become a better teacher. They don't see my clearance-sale clothes and the hair I cut myself, they see a hard-working professional with good ideas and an important job.
In a few short weeks, I'll be back at school, battling the IT director and being snubbed by middle-management types at the District Office. I'll be packing students into my run-down classroom with the nasty carpet and broken closet doors, fighting off the cockroaches, taping together books, and hoping against hope that there will be both toilet paper and paper towel in the restroom.
I spent two weeks in an environment where I was treated like something special, and it's not hyperbole when I say that I'll never be the same.
How do I provide the same experience for my students?