ECET2KY Reflections

November 15, 2016 No Comments

ECET2KY Reflections

November 15, 2016 No Comments

I am not a blogger.  The evidence is right here on this blog. I like to write. I journal constantly, but blogging for an audience is a completely different experience.  I’d like to change that, however.  Especially after attending the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching (ECET2) Conference Kentucky state convening this past weekend.  I am ready to share my experience with others!

I have never attended another event that was so laid back, but also extremely professional and packed with inspiration.  ECET2Ky was an experience that was life-changing!  I drove to Lexington, Kentucky from Louisville on Friday night for a meet-and-mingle session and BreakoutEDU game.  If you’ve never played a BreakoutEDU game – either with your students or with other educators – you need to try it!  It is a great way to break the ice and get everyone up and moving.  The best part of the Friday night mingle was getting to meet people that I have followed on Twitter for months.  It was great to finally put a real face with the Twitter handle.

The actual ECET2Ky convening was on Saturday at the Embassy Suites in Lexington.  Over 100 educators from all over the Bluegrass were there to share and learn together.  The day was organized with breakout sessions and short, inspirational speeches by fellow educators reminding us how important our job was and continues to be.

The first breakout session I attended was called “Educational Resources” and was presented by Kentucky teachers Jana Bryant and Kelly Stidham.  These women know their stuff.  They discussed the shift occurring statewide and nationally with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and offered resources to help close the achievement gap.  Some of my favorite resources that they shared are:

They also shared about Educators Rising, which is a program much like Future Farmers of America design to encourage high school students to start thinking about a career in education.  High school educators, does your school have an Educators Rising chapter?  It’s free!
The second breakout session I attended was focused on networking based on the Kentucky Teacher Leadership Framework. The framework itself is a thing of beauty.  You can find it here. This session, moderated by Kip Hottman, Suzanne Farmer, Amy Clancy, Missy Callaway, Meme Ratliff, Jennifer Cox, and Mike Paul (some downright amazing KY educators, if I do say so myself), was all about how to build your teacher networks.  I sat down with Jennifer Cox, principal at East Middle School in Shelbyville, and discussed how to bridge the gap between teachers and administrators.  I walked away with an action plan, probably my biggest take away from ECET2Ky.
from the Kentucky Dept. of Education website
Another one of my favorite parts of ECET2Ky was Colleague Circles.  We wrote and reflected upon individual problems of practice within our schools or districts and then, as a table group, followed a discussion guide to get to the root of the problem and offer solutions.  The intention of the discussion was to propagate a variety of solutions to take back to our individual situations.  My table had a passionate discussion on the disconnect between learning and standardized assessment.  It was inspiriting to see teachers from all across the state come together over such a unifying topic.  And, better than that, each of us walked away with a few strategies to combat the dreaded standardized assessment headache.
We also got goodies.  Who doesn’t love a good professional book?

 I’m not even going to lie to you, my favorite part of ECET2Ky was probably the drive home.  I had almost a full hour and a half of pure reflection.  I was able to process all the events of the day and was able to think about my short and long-term goals proceeding from here on out.  But the most important, most inspiring reflection I had about ECET2KY was this:  It is all about our students. 
I get up every morning for 23 of them.  I get up, take my shower, get myself dressed, and drag myself to school every single day for them.  It is not for the paycheck, though it is nice.  It is not for my colleagues, although they are great.  I get up every day because my students need me.  They expect me there every day to teach them new things, to let them have fun with their friends, to eat lunch with them, and to let them tell me silly stories about their weekend.  I teach them standards, sure, but that is only the tip of the iceberg of what I do.  Our job as educators goes so much deeper than just teaching and assessing.  We have the ability to create the ultimate butterfly effect (see Andy Andrews book above). Each action we make throughout a school day can change the trajectory of a student’s life forever.  The burden is large, but the reward is so much bigger.
I could talk forever about my experience at ECET2KY, but it really is something you need to experience for yourself.  To my fellow JCPS educators, go ahead and nominate yourself or a colleague for #ECET2Lou in February.  You can find more information and the nomination form here:  https://www.smore.com/fty8k-ecet2lou.  I’ll see you guys in February!

UPDATED 2-2-17:  ECET2Lou 2017 was a success!  Check out one of our most memorable moments here.

sherylwoods

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  • Adam Watson December 3, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Glad to hear you had a chance to talk to our district's amazing and inspiring Jennifer Cox! I haven't been to ECET2Ky but need to make one soon. Thanks for sharing!

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    About Me

    Hi! My name is Sheryl and I am so thankful you've found your way to the TeacherLadyKY blog! I'm an elementary educator from Louisville, Kentucky who is passionate about building relationships and literacy skills with my students. I've taught everything from kindergarten to fifth grade and I can't wait to share my experiences with you! Enjoy! Read More

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I’ve kind of been all over the place for the last eight years, but I’m excited to start year 9 in fourth grade! I’m pumped to be on a BOMB team (we need team nickname, @trish_cummane), learning a new curriculum, and becoming the best teacher YET!
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    • Today is a special, special day where I get to celebrate all the people that I love most. 
First, Happy Mother’s Day to my own mother, who taught me that I could do anything I wanted as long as I put my mind to it. She has always had the attitude that there’s no problem that can’t be fixed and she is the always the first one asking how she can help. 
Second, Happy Mother’s Day toy beautiful sister who is a learning and growing and doing a fantastic job at one of the hardest roles in the world. I love watching her be a mom, because she’s so good at it. She is patient and thoughtful, fun and understanding.

And finally, Happy 60th Birthday to my dad, who is the best dad and the best Pa I’ve ever seen. He, like Mom, has always taught me to find a solution and stop worrying about the problem. He’s always there for having fun, even if it means letting your daughters paint your nails or playing dinosaurs with a two year for the thousandth time.  I love you all and I’m so lucky I get to call you mine! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
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Still, when all was said and done, I came home to face my next obstacle and became immediately anxious and overwhelmed.  I hit a mental block and I stayed there for a while.
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I CAN do hard things. I have done them before. I went through college three times. I bought a house, by myself, at 22 years old.  Together, Justin and I have scrounged and saved and paid off thousands in debt.  I CAN do whatever I put my mind to, just like Mom and Dad told me, way back when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I can accomplish amazing things, I just have to believe in myself.
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I wrote in my #starttodayjournal this morning when I woke up, but I was feeling anxious and overwhelmed, so I did it for a second time just now, before I fall asleep. I love how calm, focused, positive it keeps my mind. I can’t wait to write it in again tomorrow.
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    • I switched schools three years ago - the summer before I got married.  It was a tough move because I LOVED my students and I felt guilty leaving them, but I knew I needed to make the move. My friend who teaches fifth grade at my previous school had her students write a letter to a former teacher. Two of her students chose me to write to - and then she shared their notes with me.
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Yes, these made me cry. NEVER take for granted the impact you have on others and the power of compassion, empathy, and kindness. It has been three years since these students sat in my second grade classroom. Three years since I’ve seen them, but our connection is so strong it seems like just yesterday.
    • This isn’t the best picture BUT I had to show you a shirt I made this week. Every Friday, as my students walk out the door before the weekend, I say to them: “Goodbye. I love you. Have a good weekend!” For some of my students, it’s just words. For some of my students, it’s THE words that helps them get through 2 or 3 days of chaos before coming back to the “calm” that is our classroom. In fact, when I wore it yesterday (we’re off school today), one of kids read it, his eyes popped open wide and he said, “But... but.... that’s what you say to us! Where’d you get that?!?” The joy on his face was priceless. Now, I have a Friday T-shirt that will remind them all day.
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I have never one regretted saying I love you to my students because I DO. In every sense of the word, I love them with my whole self and would do anything for them.
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    The TeacherLadyKY blog header and logo were designed by Sheryl, using fonts from A Primary Kind of Life and Brittney Murphy Design.  Clip art is courtesy of Irina Bandyk, whose Etsy shop is WatercolorCliparts.  The blog theme used is Emilia by Georgia Lou Studios.

     

     

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