- The Teach Better Conference lit the transformational fires of the people who attended.
- Community is critical in affirming our ‘why,’ instigating collaboration, and inspiring us to celebrate all the ways we show up for students whether we are in classrooms, district offices, or running our own teacher-focused business.
- Teach Better 22 was inclusive not just by celebrating those with various roles in education, but by including spaces for participants to regulate and process what they learned.
- Teach Better truly believes you matter.
The Best from Teach Better Conference ‘22
Nearly a year ago today, Katie Miglin of Teach Better dropped into my inbox with an opportunity to be a featured speaker at a conference that was planned for the fall of 2022. I was already part of the Teach Better fam as a guest blogger. I had even done a few live events and appeared on the Teach Better podcast. In my couple of years working with them, I’d felt a level of authenticity between the team and the mission that excited me and made me proud to be part of the organization. They are truly changing the face of K12 education, and I was already obsessed! So, when Katie’s invitation appeared in my Gmail, I instantly said “Yes!” I’m happy to say that Teach Better ’22 delivered. As the kids say, “it gave what it was supposed to give!”
It was inspiring, motivating, and an opportunity for teachers to build on the hope of, well, better! I loved just how the session catered to a variety of educational roles from classroom teachers and administrators to technology specialists and even entrepreneurs. I love the intentionality behind Teach Better’s mission to foster innovation in education by providing professional development for all education professionals.
As part of the Teach Better fam, I knew this conference would be a spark to light the transformational fires of the people who attended.
Value of Community
After two years of isolation, distrust, and uncertainty, the conference was the first time for many educators that they were able to connect again with other professionals outside of their local sphere of community. With the teacher shortage crisis on the rise and K12 institutions struggling to meet students where they are, the community is critical in affirming our ‘why,’ instigating collaboration, and inspiring us to celebrate all the ways we show up for students whether we are in classrooms, district offices, or running our own teacher focused business.Community is critical in affirming our ‘why,’ instigating collaboration, and inspiring us to celebrate all the ways we show up for students whether we are in classrooms, district offices, or running our own teacher-focused business. Click To Tweet
Progress Over Perfection
Teach Better did a phenomenal job of encouraging educators to celebrate baby steps. So many teachers struggle with perfectionism because they have a deep respect for the potential of their impact. But it’s not surprising, given the historical context of this female-dominated profession. When women became prominent figures in classrooms, their roles as mothers and teachers were viewed as synonymous. Centuries later, teachers of every gender still internalize their role as both nurturers and caretakers as an ultimate responsibility to create a better future. With great responsibility, however, comes great expectations. Teachers often hold themselves to a standard of perfection that ultimately isn’t sustainable.
The keynote speakers and session presenters at Teach Better Conference ‘22 consistently affirmed the idea that your impact is found in the journey towards better, not perfect.
The Importance of Intentionality
I’ve presented at more than a dozen teacher conferences, and it truly is the little things that have the most impact. The level of care the Teach Better team put into the conference was evident from the selection of the venue, which was a former museum turned STEM school, to the signs and ambassadors around the building that made sure we knew exactly where to find anything we needed.
The sessions catered to a variety of education professionals across the industry. No matter if you were an administrator, tech coach, or teacherpreneur, there was something for everyone. One of my favorite things about the different opportunities offered was the chill zone. Teach Better designated a quiet, cozy, space called the Chill Zone that invited participants to decompress, process, and have alone time to recharge.
As important as connection is at these events, I applaud Teach Better for recognizing and accommodating the diverse personalities of their attendees by intentionally providing space for teachers to step away.
After an unprecedented pandemic and the social unrest that has gripped the country since 2020, hope has been in short supply. As a society, we’ve seen some of the darkest parts of human beings and we’ve dealt with the fragility of human life. Teachers have dealt with the intersection of both as we went from being revered as heroes to lazy villains. All while processing and dealing with our own losses. We lost family members and loved ones. We lost our classrooms. We lost the personal face-to-face connections with students. We lost respect. And many teachers have lost autonomy.
What educators need now is hope. And Teach Better ’22 did a phenomenal job of inspiring educators to remember just how important the work of K12 professionals is. More than that, though, Teach Better’s keynotes and session empowered educators to put their hope into action.[scroll down to keep reading]
Above all, Teach Better cares about educators and that was evident in every part of the conference experience. From the communication and organization of the planning to the venue and speaker selection, Teach Better’s 2022 conference was everything that every educator needs, whether you’re a classroom teacher, a principal, or a business owner with the vision to support K12 professionals.
Teach Better’s authenticity is its biggest asset as it walks the walk and talks the talk to imagine a world where every educator is connected, supported, and inspired to be BETTER every day so that all learners can discover and develop their passions to positively impact communities. They are a force in the K12 community, and I believe their impact will only increase as more and more K12 professionals get connected to this incredible organization. Teach Better truly believes you matter. But don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
About Alexis Shepard
Alexis Shepard is a 9th year middle school teacher in Upstate, South Carolina with both middle level and elementary experience. After multiple encounters with burn-out, a desire to take steps towards self-care led to the creation of her brand, The AfroEducator. Originally intended to facilitate connections with likeminded educators, a passion was ignited in Alexis to empower teachers towards wellness.
In her work, Alexis seeks to create pervasive perceptions of wellness that will improve teacher outlook and sustainability. She champions teacher self-care through education, reflection, and dialogue. Alexis believes that by sharing stories, she can inspire and empower teachers to take control of their own narratives so that they can teach and live with joy.