Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I have just returned from the SHAPE America conference in Boston. A conference at which I had the chance to meet with, and learn from, some of the best educators in the #healthed and #physed world. Some I had previously met in person at conferences across the country, some were valued members of my PLN with whom I had engaged and collaborated with over the past few years, and some were professionals that I met for the first time. As we got to know each other while sitting in on the scheduled sessions, or at coffee and an informal chat, or during one of Justin Schleider‘s impromptu Paddle Zlam gatherings it became apparent that we shared some things in common.
Firstly, it was apparent that we all had a desire and a passion to drive our teaching forward and seek out the best in pedagogy and ideas to take back to our students and co-workers. If you ever wanted to immerse yourself in a world of positive thinking educators you really should consider attending the next national conference in Nashville.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, we all acknowledged that we were only able to attend because of the support from others. Some of us attended with the full support of our administrators, (me included – thank you New Trier High School) and some didn’t – one of the district health teachers of the year told me that her school was NOT assisting her with the cost of the flight, accommodation or even the cost of her own subs. However, while we were off on our Boston experience we all left loved ones behind, who remained at home to look after the house, the kids, the pets etc. I witnessed a few conversations similar to those that I have had while away from the family. It’s tough to check in with my wife at home when I’m on a conference high and want to share all of the cool things that I’m experiencing when on the other end of the phone my wife is tired and trying to stop my 3 year old from destroying my 5 year olds Lego creations. There have been some brutally honest blog posts recently from the Physedagogy members and the discussion of work/life balance seems to have come to the fore recently. At an awards dinner this week Past President of AAHPERD Irene Cucina said that being a part of a teacher’s life can be very difficult as we are often guilty of bringing our work lives home with us, and I warned more than a few future professionals at the conference that teaching is a 24/7 occupation.
As we return to school this week I urge you to thank those around you who have supported you in your desire to become the teacher that you are today. I acknowledge that in my desire to better my teaching I have at times made sacrifices that have impacted my friends and family. I can find it difficult to switch off (one last tweet darling and I’ll be with you) or be present when with my two sons (shhh, I can’t hear this Voxer message).
If you have just returned from the Boston conference, write your administrator a thank you letter. Let them know what it means to you to be allowed to attend, share what you learned, and tell them how this will impact your teaching and the experience of your students.
Irrespective of whether you have just returned from the Boston conference, tell those closest to you what their support means to you. Show your appreciation in a way that lets them know that you value their support and acknowledge that they have played an important role in your professional growth.
This week I was reduced to tears as I emotionally accepted the 2017 National Health Teacher of the Year award from SHAPE America. In my short acceptance speech I mentioned that in my first presentation of the week Victoria Otto led a yoga activity accompanied by “Where is the Love” from The Black Eyed Peas and shared that since I arrived in America in 2008 I had received nothing but love from the teaching community. To those reading this blog post, and to the members of my valued PLN from whom I draw daily inspiration I thank you all for the role that you have played in making my move to America a successful one and for helping me become the teacher I always hoped I could be.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
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