Always a Learner: A Reflection From ASCD16
An estimated 10,000 educators. 3 days. 287 exhibitors. 248 sessions featuring 411 speakers. 5 general sessions featuring brilliant minds, from 2105 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples to leading researcher and bestselling author Carol Dweck. 50 authors speaking and hosting book signings. 1 AMAZING experience.
How would I describe ASCD16? How can I even begin to?!?! There is something to be said about being surrounded by that many people who, like me, are so deeply and truly passionate about education, about reaching our students, about learning…about our kids! It was, by far, one of the most incredible experiences I have had in a very, very long time.
Many times, we as educators find ourselves disheartened by the state of education. Policy-makers draft and pass laws with implications that reach into classrooms that they, themselves, haven’t set foot in since they were students. Administrators – especially those who are “higher up” – fail to look past the “numbers” to actually see the children, and it often feels as though we are tasked with teaching data rather than teaching kids. There are often 25 or 30 children in our rooms, all with different needs and learning styles, yet we are expected to teach them all the same curriculum at the same pace to pass the same test. It can truly be mind-boggling and demoralizing.
Enter ASCD16. Being surrounded by a sea of educators – teachers, principals, instructional coaches, superintendents, and more – who ALL are passionate about CHILDREN and their educations reminded me that I am not alone…we are not alone. It reawakened my passion for teaching and learning, and I can’t wait to return to my children after spring break and to ignite that passion for learning in them!
At ASCD16, I was more than just a participant; I was a learner. The number of learning opportunities available at ASCD16 was phenomenal! After attending sessions on total participation techniques, implementing makerspaces, using STEM to differentiate, inquiry in reading, flipping classrooms, and SO much more, I came back with a million ideas. I am SO ready to go back to school next week and try some of these things out!
Outside of the learning sessions, there was the overwhelming passion and inspiration shared at and beyond the general sessions; I cannot describe the awakening of fervor I experienced as I attended these particular sessions. Being able to talk with like-minded educators about what we feel is most important, having healthy debate about formative assessment (is it a noun? a verb?), and sharing how to build growth mindsets – all of this truly helped to reawaken the passion I have always had for education.
Marnai Boose is a 3rd grade teacher at Hubbard Elementary School in Georgia. This is her 7th year teaching at her current school. Marnai recently graduated from Wesleyan College with her Master’s in Education, and she looks forward to many more years shaping the lives of children as a classroom teacher.