I have so many great things to share from EdCamp Leadership you would think it lasted six days rather than six hours. The atmosphere, the people, and the learning were incredible. The whole ride up, while talking on voxer with my PLN, I debated on doing something way beyond my comfort zone, facilitating a discussion at EdCamp Leadership.
I went in, got my bearings, and some coffee and waited. I listened to the Sat Chat crew and all of their great guests. I met a few new friends and a number of people I knew from twitter. I also saw many others I knew from twitter. Despite my comfort with engaging them via social media, being in the room with people who I admire for their ability to share great ideas was more nerve racking than I would have previously guessed.
I put up my session, the giant post it fell off the board and behind the wall. I did it again with tape, it fell again. Most people would have taken this as a sign, you were not meant to do this today! Stubbornly I reposted my session topic one more time. Finally, I had it up there (mentoring throughout education) and I was all in. I jumped head first into EdCamp Leadership.
The experience was amazing. Admittedly my session was the smallest one I was at (about 10 people two of whom left half way through) and in one of the largest rooms there! It didn’t matter, I had a GREAT conversation about mentoring and developing mentoring systems. I got to talk with people who have this responsibility in their districts. We developed some great ideas through sharing.
After this I jumped up and shared for the Smack Down an app I really like called If This Then That (IFTT, can you guess by the philosophical nature of its name I would love it!)
This was an amazing experience that has inspired me to want to do more. Since Monday I, volunteered to help out organizing EdCampSoJersey Anyway I can, I have brainstormed about EdCampU (for new & Pre service teachers) and applied to present at ECET2 for NJ & PA.
Here are a few of my takeaways:
– Giving new teachers an experienced teacher as a mentor rarely works, instead give them a teacher that is a little closer to the experience of being a new teacher. Then, as 3rd or 4th year teachers become mentors, you will build a network of mentors. When those younger mentors cannot help with a problem or need more advice, they can seek their mentors that are 7-8 years in and so on. Ideally new teachers will then have a series of mentors to turn to when problems and questions arise.
– New teachers don’t know what they don’t know, so having your new mentor teachers give a few break out sessions each will give the new teachers a chance to see who they click with, who they want to learn from.
– People need mentors in and outside their building! Since not everyone has developed a large PLN yet, you may want to work out way to encourage inter building collaboration in larger districts.
– Last, mentoring is a two way street. Sometimes the more experienced teacher is counting on the new teacher to share new ideas and bring excitement from outside.