As I am on my final stroll to the Hynes Convention Center, I am sad that my time is coming to an end. I am really starting to get a feel for the area as I have walked over 20 miles, caught a bus, and last night got to experience the subway. Boston will see me again! The ILA Conference is by far one of the most incredible experiences in my life. This was a 1st class event! I was able to meet and chat with educators from around the world. The sessions were packed with great information. This experience will truly make me a better educator and it inspires me to continue my mission to spread literacy to the masses. Thank you to Hopkins Public Schools for making this happen.
This morning the coffee of choice was from my all-time favorite, Dunkin Donuts. Growing up in the South Suburbs of Chicago,they were everywhere. When I am out of town and a Dunkin Donuts comes up on my visual radar,I attack! It is a very gloomy morning in Boston as the weather has been very chilly. I am starting to think that in Minnesota, our weather isn't so bad!
Empathy seems to be the the common word that is being used amongst all the speakers today. We are in some tough times in the world and the connection between literacy and empathy go hand in hand. You could feel the passion in their voices as they spoke about what literacy does for humankind. The sessions I attended today were: Adora Svitak, Kwame Alexander, Lucy Calkins, Amanda Hartman, and Kelly Gallagher. They were all amazing and very inspiring. I definitely was equipped with tools that will help me on my mission to make change.
Woke up this morning rapping to myself, thinking about the day and how incredible it is going to be. As I walked down the street using my trusty GPS to find the convention center, drinking Starbucks, I felt like a Bostonian. I approach the convention center and I witness thousands of people walking at a fast pace, energetic, excited to embark on this learning adventure. My eyes were so wide, sort of like a kid at a candy store, although my candy is the knowledge that I will be obtaining. Walking into this huge auditorium, I was not expecting to see or hear Bruno Mars playing on the screen, Earth Wind and Fire, and Justin Timberlake. I must say that the music is on point. I am blessed to be here to say the least. The power of literacy brought me to Boston!!
I CAN'T STOP LEARNING!!! As teachers summer vacation for some of us is a time for pure relaxation! It is a time to work on that hobby that you start every year and never get to finish. Maybe it is an opportunity for you to water that grass that has been neglected for 9 months. The grass was once green and now it has incorporated a mixture of brown and looks as if a fire was started in your lawn. Summer vacation is definitely one of the great perks of teaching.
I was taught by my parents, grandparents, and many mentors to never stop learning. There are so many things in this world that I don't know, which fuels my hunger for more information. One of our worlds greatest philosophers, Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."
For me, summer time is a time to relax, but also a time to learn and do more research. I want to be sure that I am on target with the latest strategies, up to date on the latest research, and attend professional developments that are relevant to what I want to do in the classroom.
The International Literacy Association has been around for 60 years and they have provided teachers and leaders with resources to help inspire our students. It is a global community that is spread across 75 countries. This conference ties in with all my beliefs and why I became an educator.
It is truly a blessing to have this opportunity to learn and grow as an educator. Events across our country from the past couple of days provide me with an energy to continue to make change and help inspire the next generation.
My 3 day journey starts in the morning and I know I will come home to Minnesota, stronger, wiser, and overall a better man. Shout out to my wife, who always supports me and believes in everything that I do. I also want to give a shout out to all those who helped and supported me through the Passion Grant process, as the Passion Grant is the reason I am able to attend this prestigious conference.
Peace to the world! Boston here I come!
Here is a quick video that speaks about the mission of the ILA: