Last week, three of us from the AIMS Professional Learning Division had the opportunity to participate in, and present at, three different conferences in the United States and Canada. The three conferences were the Montana Educators conference in Missoula, MT, the Florida Association of Science Teachers Conference in Orlando, FL, and the Manitoba Teachers of Mathematics conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
We presented sessions on different and varied math and science topics. Our session titles were Professional Noticing, Science in Three Dimensions, Engagement and Collaboration Through Game Play, Developing a Sense for Numbers, and Supporting the Algorithms. All of the presented materials are contained on the linked pages. Each session was fully attended, and we had participants who were engaged, participated, and collaborated with peers. Best of all, there were countless opportunities for the AIMS Professional Learning Division to network, form new relationships, and see colleagues.
I’m sure my colleagues each have takeaways from their conferences, but here is mine: I took in seeing an ever-present passion for teaching from the Montana Educators conference. Good teachers become great teachers by going beyond the call of duty and beyond just using a textbook to teach. Doing this means being a learner and getting ongoing education. Watching participants go from session to session at my conference to do just that was inspiring to be a part of.
You may ask, why should I go to conferences? A short answer would be to go for your continued personal and professional development. Take advantage of these opportunities, even if you can only attend smaller local conferences. Meet people. Network. Learn new things. Break out of your comfort zone. Spend time with like-minded colleagues. Otherwise, we spend most of our time in classrooms teaching students. We follow guidelines and have goals and expectations to meet. Don’t miss out. Attend conferences, be a learner, feel reenergized, and reconnect. What conference do you plan to attend next?