I have been involved in some intense thinking today while preparing to write this reflection. I still cannot believe I had the privilege to attend DENSI 2015 in Washington, DC. This group of educators that is elite in my perspective. However if you were to ask anyone attending DENSI they would quickly deny it. That is because we are a humble group that works hard to make a difference in the lives of children each and every day. I find that this year it was easier to step outside my comfort zone. I told myself I would make more friends, learn new technologies and ask questions when I wanted more information. This year I think I did a lot more of that. In conversations with others you quickly discover that the problems you are experiencing are not unique in fact there are educators that have many of the same problems, or concerns with the how their students are impacted by new policies.
I know that I am missing some of the highlights of the week on my session notes, it was impossible to write it all down. Too much too fast. My hope is that I will have the key points and need to just start using what I have learned as soon as classes start with students.
I find that there is one key take away from DENSI. That is that often we find that we are only able to go so far with people during the week because we are interrupted; we only have a short time with people – and so on. But with the DENSI this feeling is misleading since we can carry the conversation further at a later time, time becomes irrelevant to us. We are able to extend our time with each other through the use of Twitter, Facebook and the DEN blog. As a family we stay in contact with each other, and when we see each other again in a month, or a year or more, it is like time has stood still, we renew that feeling we have when we are all together again. I have so many to thank for making feel apart of something much bigger then myself. Porter Palmer, Cheryl Woolwine, LeaAnne Daughrity, Matt Graves, Shelby Bailey, Emily Murn, Karie Huttner (thanks for letting me tinker all day), Lindsay Morhart and Howard Martin to mention just a few who make me feel & understand that real happiness comes from being content with and proud of yourself. The most important thing to remember is that you are worth it, you can go another day, and you can be happy. Life will not throw you anything you cannot handle or overcome.
My amazing TEAM: Deb Thonus, Katie Bollinger, Shelley Mann, Robyn Thiessen, Seth Gearren, Mary Anne Jezierski, Karen Ogen, Donna Roberts, CeCe Wilburn-Davis you guys rock!!
On a daily basis I remembered this: “We argue that as educators, while we look to experience, we should not fall into the trap of ignoring the importance of giving information.” I remembered this quote many times during the sessions, I wanted to share what I have learned and was determined to write notes and blog them for my colleagues back home. I always feel that I take more than I give to DENSI. However to pay it forward-I will be part of the DEN Ambassador program this year sharing with others within my district, my hope is that we can get more educators here to become STARS.
While I unpack my suitcase and begin to construct my blog pages, I am #missingdensi2015 family. Remembering that DENSI is about the hugs, the smiles, the conversations and the multiple opportunities to connect with people who get me. I had a whole lot of fun working with an incredible group, finding more similarities than differences. It’s the ability to share what I have learned and to learn from others doing similar and different things. DENSI brings together a large collection of people who understand my teaching, my purpose, and my passions. You push me to be a stronger reflective person, a better educator and make me believe that I can make a difference!