- Teach Better 22 felt like an eerie class reunion as we have connected online for years, but only met in real life at the conference.
- Teach Better Ambassadors and others volunteered to help the event run smoothly.
- The opportunity to connect and learn from so many individuals was an amazing experience.
Teach Better 22
This blog post will talk about my individual experience at #TeachBetter22. We all experienced it differently, but I know many of the same things resonate. We were all mostly there for the first time. Many of us felt like this was an eerie class reunion, having met so many people IRL (in real life) after being connected with them only through a screen for 2.5 years. I share this tweet (along with many others from the weekend) that fully expresses my feelings upon return home.
Arrival in Akron
I arrived in Akron around 1 pm on Thursday. Once I got a sandwich near the downtown Marriot, I walked over to the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame STEM Middle School. I signed up to volunteer and hoped to meet some TB folks upon arriving. Well, I ended up waiting about 45 minutes, due to the fact school was just letting out and TB folks arrived at the back of the building.
Thursday afternoon, we spent about 2.5 hours unloading and setting up conference signage, snacks, water, and registration name tags with goodie bags. I helped Livia Chan find out more about placing posters. I also rearranged the STEM classroom where the podcaster’s row was located so that podcasters would have space in between each other to avoid too much noise while recording.Many of us felt like this was an eerie class reunion, having met so many people IRL after being connected with them only through a screen for 2.5 years. Click To Tweet
First Networking Event
We all headed down to Panini’s Bar and Grill, in a town about a 10-mile drive from Akron. After getting a ride with other volunteers, I stumbled upon even more familiar faces. I ended up only staying until 8:30 and got a ride back with Megan Balduf, as we were both tired from a long day.
Teach Better 22 Conference Day 1
The next day I got a ride with Jillian DuBois to the venue and helped get set up for people who were arriving that morning to attend the conference. Rae Hughart and Chad Ostrowski kicked off the conference. Rae asked us to tweet out how much we missed COO Jeff Gargas, who wasn’t able to attend due to illness. I didn’t have my spot on podcaster’s row until the afternoon, so I attended some great morning sessions that Alexis Shepard, Rick Jetter, Erik Francis, and Matthew Bowerman presented.
Our next networking event was at Barley House, within 200 ft. of the STEM Middle School. I walked there and back with Eric Guise and Dan Kreiness, who were also in the podcaster’s row. We spoke of our experience getting guests at the conference and the recording experience at the venue so far.
Teach Better 22 Conference Day 2
I awoke at 4:54 am to my watch alarm reminding me to get up to meet the TB running group who were “helping Dave Schmittou do his 20 miler.” Well, he didn’t end up going more than 3 that day, due to conference duties, and I tacked on another 3 miles downtown round with Megan. While I sometimes run as early as 6:30 on weekends or, in the summer, shortly after 5, being in the dark during the whole run was a new experience for me! Thanks, Dave, for helping me “bring up the rear” during our first 3 miles! I’m not a 10-minute mile (or less) runner, like most of the others, but I get my miles in.[scroll down to keep reading]
Our day 2 keynote was Grammy Award-winning teacher and artist Mickey Smith Jr. I’m pretty sure everyone was inspired by his mix of humor and showcase of his saxophone-playing talent.
I spent most of the rest of the morning on podcaster’s row and recorded with Tre Gammage and Megan Balduf. In the afternoon, I attended a few more sessions with Todd Stanley and Karen Evans before I had to head out early around 2:20 to make it to the airport for my flight back 2 hours later. Luckily, the flight gods were in my favor and I had no delays, but wish I had been there through the end of the day Saturday to attend that last networking event. Some of the conference attendees worked Friday and didn’t come until late Friday, so I didn’t get much of a chance to connect with them. Next time I’ll stay longer.
While one can’t bottle the joy, exhilaration, and excitement of being at #TeachBetter22 and spread it out over the course of the school year, the memories from this unique conference experience will last a long time. It was a whirlwind of activity, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The anticipation led to an amazing conference. Teach Better Team, I would love to repeat this experience next year. It doesn’t have to be in the same place, but I really hope to see many (and more) of the team members next time to further deepen connections IRL!
About Dana Goodier
Dr. Dana Goodier has 20 years of experience in education. She has taught World Languages and English and worked as a middle school administrator. She completed her doctorate degree (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership early 2020. For her dissertation, she researched reasons parents were opting their students out of high-stakes testing at middle schools and how that affected the district accreditation rating. She often speaks at conferences, providing educators with techniques to minimize off-task behavior and to increase time on task. She is the host of the “Out of the Trenches” podcast, which features educators who share their stories of resiliency. Follow her on Twitter @danagoodier and visit her website at: www.danagoodier.com