In case you are on the fence, some previous attendees have written posts about why you should attend EdCampCIVa! First up is Allison Gray. You can also find out more about Allison on her blog as well.
Hello! My name is Allison Gray, I teach elementary Spanish and I’ll be attending EdCampCIVa for the third time this year. I’m so excited about it that I wanted to share my story with you. I hope it convinces you (not that I feel you should need convincing) to go with me.
Let me take you back two years, to April of 2018. I had been teaching at the same schools for nine years (I’m a traveling teacher) and was told that I was being pulled from my schools to become the new Spanish teacher to one (of two) magnet programs. That was no big deal, until I talked to the teacher of the other program, with whom I was expected to align myself. She had all these crazy ideas, she wanted to use chapter books to teach, she wanted to use songs (I was in on the kid’s songs, but Sr. Wooly – that’s a weird name), and she wanted to ditch our textbook. I chose to willingly, yet blindly follow her into her rabbit hole and began doing research into this thing called CI. To start my journey, she told me about this conference she was thinking of going to called EdCamp.
I was lucky because I had participated in Matt Miller’s Ditch That Textbook Online Conference that winter for the first time, and that research had led me to websites like those of Brett Chonko and Maris Hawkins. (As an aside, I was completely unprepared to walk in and see Mr. Brett Chonko of all sorts of internet fame, that I couldn’t even talk normally to him.) Thank goodness there was a set beginner track to the day, which was so complete that I didn’t have to think about anything more than how to untwist the coffee carafe with my broken wrist. I learned so much that day that I was thrilled to have a five-hour drive home that night because I needed all that time to process everything that I had learned before having to interact with people again. I come from the Roanoke Valley, so Chesapeake isn’t exactly close, but I was desperate for training, and seriously, I got what I needed.
The following year I tried out so many of the things that I had learned with my new groups of magnet program. Thank goodness I had all these tricks up my sleeve, because these kids needed something so different from what our book had provided that I’m not sure how their last teacher had made the progress she had with them. They were unwilling to have their creativity stifled, and CI called for more and more and more of their thoughts and their lives that we had an amazing year. I decided that I needed more amazing years and went back to EdCampCIVa again last year, and I’ll go again this year.
Honestly, making the choice to go is huge for me. I teach summer school too, so I am driving across all of Virginia after teaching all day, then taking leave without pay. Those aren’t things I do lightly. Truthfully, I have learned so much at this conference and through the connections I’ve made that it is worth the cost of the lost pay, and extensive travel. Additionally, even with those associated costs, it’s still a huge value for the money. I guarantee that whether or not you attend both days, you will get a huge value for your invested time as well. Can’t wait to see you there!
To sign up, follow this link!