by Tasha Candela
Expert Educator Columnist, USA
Have you ever thought about speaking at a conference?
I have always had confidence issues so that thought would have never crossed my mind. I love sharing my knowledge with others, but in a small setting. The fewer audience members, the better.
As I continued to attend conferences, I learned that I could add value. I watched others engage learners by demonstrating the latest technology tools and teaching techniques. Some presenters were more poised and knowledgeable than others, but all were there because they had a passion for their topic.
As teachers, we are innately selfless. We want to improve our own practices while sharing the lessons that make our classrooms successful. Presenters are catalysts for growth in learning. They can be the spark that encourages your most difficult student to complete their first assignment. They can share a different way of teaching an English classic or mathematics problem that totally revolutionizes your students understanding and attitude about the subject matter. Moreover, they could become part of your professional learning community and influence the way you instruct for the rest of your life.
Heck, you may even call some of these presenters your friends.
But I keep writing about they. They could be you. You are worthy. You can be a change agent.
Now in my ninth year in education, I have been fortunate to speak at many local, state, and national conferences. My two favorites were the national Microsoft’s Innovative Educator’s Forum (IEF) and the local Math, Science, and Technology Symposium. (MSTS).
At the IEF, I presented a poster session on the importance of digital portfolios and career development at the secondary level. Over 100 educators across the globe saw my presentation, asked questions, and took handouts. Instant connections were made, through this piece of curriculum that I had been teaching for years. These conversations led to others and instant bonds were formed. I enjoyed this presentation because it was low-key, but certainly not low-impact. It felt like I was sitting on one big sofa with 100 friends, discussing best practices strategies and laughing at daily classroom faux pas.
The smaller county-level MSTS conference gives me a chance to share my love for technology with middle school girls. Because of the shortage of females in computer professions, I enjoy being an advocate for them. This adolescent audience is very different from the typical adult learner. They cannot sit still. They want immediate entertainment and a clear message. Wait. Adults want that, too. I am a dork. I enjoy sharing my personality through technology possibilities. After this conference, I believe my influence pushes students to consider taking technology classes. Perhaps I have even met a future CEO.
Please consider becoming a speaker and sharing your passion for education with others.
Be the Tigger,