My newest labor of love has been that I want to spread good professional development to foreign language teachers everywhere. But I will start in my hometown of Hampton Roads, Virginia. I love a good conference just like anyone. Just this year, I have gone to ACTFL, NECTFL and GWATFL. I realize that that isn’t in the cards for everyone. Your school doesn’t support you financially attending or it is not close enough to you. Even state conferences can be several hours away which is not always possible for everyone.
Enter edcamp! I love edcamps as I have been working on the edcampMetroDC team for 4 years. I love edcamps for many reasons. You only need a few people who want to get together to talk and a school! And edcamps are free for everyone. However, the main reason is that the most important part of the room is the room. Yes- people can start by sharing out what is working for them, but then it becomes a conversation. It becomes the best teacher’s lounge conversation that we can have. I love this post about unconferences, and it summarizes so many things that I believe. In edcamps, you have people who are willing to give up a day on their weekend or summer to become better educators. You are allowed to have a side conversation with the person next to you instead of just talking to them in those awkward “bond with the person next to you” that people work into their presentations.
Some of my favorite moments during ACTFL was during the unconference put on by Noah Geisel. I learned how to put Snapchat in my class which I have used regularly from Noah himself- and got to snapchat with Laura Sexton and Kara Jacobs. I also met a teacher from Maryland that I have been able to stay in touch with via social media who has helped me connect more with teachers in the area. While I did learn a lot at the sessions I attended, I would venture to say that it was the relationships that I continued or forged that were the best part of the conference.
This summer, I am helping to plan edcampCIVa. We are getting together in Chesapeake, Virginia on June 27 to discuss comprehensible input and how it works in our classes. Can you make it? Sign up here. Do you know someone in the area? Forward it to them! I can’t wait to sit down and spend time discussing a variety of topics with foreign language teachers. Interested in organizing your own? Get in touch with me! Let’s make PD local and affordable for all teachers!