Each time I am gone I feel guilty about being absent from class...I really do. I want to be there changing my students lives for the better. I worry what the parents will think. I worry the kids will forget what I look like. But then, after stewing about it, for long periods of time, because that's what introverts do, I came to the conclusion that I am not going to become a better teacher if I let guilt hold me back.
I'm going on my 7th full year with my district and although I've had trainings in the past, nothing as frequent, and worthwhile, as this year. This year I broadened my mindset by attending GLAD training, the NCCE (Tech) conference, and Origo. And, although the year has only 37 days left (yikes!) I have a 1 day Dr. Jean workshop I'm attending (thanks to Lincoln Parent Council!), Handwriting without Tears, and a week long pre-school GLAD program.
When I think about training I am reminded of the Maya Angelou quote:
Because, although I am bright, I am the first to admit I do not know it all. As I tell my kiddos, I learn something new every day...and its not just a Foleyism, but a truth. Hence, if I stay in my fortress, guarded by my constituents, and continue to plot along the best I know...I won't be able to become a better teacher and thus impact students with more efficient and best practices.
And yet 2 years ago, I was embarrassed to ask to attend the national, "I Teach K!" conference (the first MAJOR conference I had EVER been to) because every time I told someone it was being held in Las Vegas they looked at me with a stare of disbelief. As if learning cannot occur in Vegas, the convention capital of the world mind you, because its Vegas. And yet to be there for 4 days with only KINDERGARTEN teachers was so empowering. To talk to people who understand that kindergarten is an undiscovered planet in our solar system, a place where glue eating is commonplace and sainthood should be granted was powerful. And yes, to Zipline across Fremont street provided me with the strength to start another year. Yet it also provided me with 100s of new ideas, ways to improve, ways to "be better."
So where does that leave me? With a new mantra. I believe every year should be, for every teacher, a year of training dangerously. To get so much outstanding, effective, passion filled training that we, as teachers, are ignited to come back and to do so with gusto. In my mind an ounce of prevention (by providing quality training) is worth a pound of cure (trying to figure out how to "fix" low performing schools).
So I implore those in charge, those making the decisions, those teetering on the edge of whether to send teachers to professional development to JUST DO IT. Because the kids are worth it.
As for Vegas...there is always next year :)