Saturday, May 10, 2014

#IRA14: In the Beginning There was...a Flood?

Yesterday, IRA kicked off it's 59th Annual Conference. This year it's in New Orleans. With that came the rain. Cell phones had their emergency warnings sound for the flood. Stories poured out about many of the restaurants and shops flooding. People were getting caught in different parts of town trying to wait out the deluge. However, nothing could dampen the spirit of the thousands of educators who flooded New Orleans. As I began to reflect on this occurrence (and dry out), several ideas came to me. There truly was a flood that had nothing to do with what brings to mind animals entering an ark two-by-two. I thought I'd share my observations and I'd welcome you to add yours to this list as well.

  1. Flood of optimism- In spite of seriously torrential downpour, no one complained. No one let the rain dampen their excitement for learning with and from fellow educators. Everyone took this as a minor inconvenience and kept with their plans to have informal conversations at one of the many locations around New Orleans. This speaks volumes about the type of educators that I am fortunate to be among for the next three days. Teachers who look at something like a flood as a mere gnat buzzing around their faces while they continue to connect and learn.
  2. Flood of learning- I was unable to join the pre-conference this year. Yet, I was still able to learn all day yesterday...through the social media feeds. There was a constant moving stream of learning begin shared through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (#IRA14). This speaks to the vision of the educators here. They are not here just to learn for themselves, but to pass it along to others. The streams were flooded with so many epiphanies, resources, recommendations and learning that I found myself becoming completely engulfed in the events taking place yesterday. I couldn't wait to join the conversations and sharing today.
  3. Flood of passion- I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in conferences and learning events all over this country....which I totally enjoy. But this year, there is something a little bit different about this year's conference. It brings to mind the time several years ago when my mother, sister and I met at the beach...we were overwhelmed with excitement, laughter, and the opportunity to make new memories. Through our precarious drive, I had ongoing conversations with friends and colleagues through text, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  Through all of these communications, what became very apparent is our shared passion for positively impacting student learning.
So as the conference is about to "kick off," join the conversation, either face-to-face or digitally. Jump in, wade in, or do your favorite belly flop. The water is great here at IRA14 and we're all in the for the ride of our lives.

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