Wednesday, June 20, 2018
I've been following George Couros on Twitter for years. He was probably one of the first people I started following on Twitter so when I was asked in the fall of 2015 if I wanted to attend a conference in which he was one of the featured speakers I jumped at the chance. I was part of a team from my school who attended the, "What Great Educators Do Differently" conference in Chicago and on the 90 or so minute drive I educated the group about as many of the speakers as I could. I quickly realized that I was a pretty big nerd and sort of enjoyed all the jabs my co-workers gave me. Of all the speakers listed, which included Todd Whitaker (I had read several of his books at this point and was a big fan of, "What Great Educators Do Differently"), I was most excited to hear George Couros. I found his ideas so refreshing and at the time we, as a district, were just starting to make personalized learning an expectation. While Couros doesn't specifically use the terminology, "personalized learning" the message isn't lost that the Innovators Mindset fits perfectly into the personalized learning framework.
This conference came at a time in my career when I was at a particular low point. Spending time on Twitter allowed me a place to connect with people who were excited about my profession. I followed leaders in innovation, project based learning and leadership and often found myself better about things when I got off the computer or put my phone down. I'm not going to go into detail about the challenges I was facing but let's just say that it wasn't the students or parents I served but a co-worker that made my stomach turn with constant negativity and personal attacks on not just me professionally but personally. It was really hard. I was filled with self-doubt on a daily basis. This conference came at the height of all the negativity and I got to hear Todd Whitaker's presentation about, "Shifting the Monkey." Talk about perfect timing. Then, that weekend I got to hear George Couros. He spoke about how innovative isn't about just being different it's about being networked, taking risks, being empathetic, being reflective and resilient. His book, "The Innovator's Mindset" was released shortly after the conference and I ate it up. It was a framework for the type of teacher I was trying to be and a model for the teachers I wanted to surround myself with.
This week I'm attending the FIRST Education conference and tomorrow the keynote is...George Couros! Yay! I realize that I associate him not just with a fun weekend in 2015 at a conference but with the positive turning point where I was able to find my confidence as a teacher leader. He played a role with helping me find my voice and gave me a push to start this blog.
Posted by Andi at 8:53 PM