What makes you lean in? Why do you lead? These were just a few of the questions asked in a session at #EdCampIowa yesterday. I attended at the Southeast location in Cedar Rapids at the Geonetric Building which houses IowaBIG and NewBoCo.
You know that feeling when you with you could be in two places, maybe even three places, at once? That's how I felt most of the day while at EdCampIowa. Every session was full of passionate educators sharing about topics themed around transforming education for our students, creating student leaders, integrating technology, social/emotional needs of students, and adult learning.
StuVoice was loud and clear throughout the entire day. I appreciated the input from students on what they feel is happening in education and what they feel like needs to happen in education. The way these students approached adults, shared their concerns, and offered potential solutions was inspiring. Many of these students are learning in "non-traditional" systems. They were students at either IowaBIG or the Kenwood Leadership Academy, both in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I left thinking, "What are we doing to teach students "soft skills" and allowing them time to practice for a variety of audiences?" I also wonder what we are doing to get authentic feedback from our students. One thing that I noticed while listening to students give feedback, not one educator in the room got defensive. Every educator in the room listened intently in order to understand what the students were saying.
There is so much more that I need to learn. As a coach, I couldn't possibly have all of the answers to the questions that come at me throughout the day. One phrase I'm beginning to master is, "I don't know, but we can find the answer together." EdCampIowa opened my eyes to resources that I didn't know existed. It also provided me with an opportunity to grow my PLN and have a supportive group to ask questions to.
Most sessions began with educators sharing their role and the district they work for. It made me incredibly proud to say that I am from Benton CSD and then hear it repeated by other passionate educators in the room. Our presence was strong and I'm proud to be a Bobcat.