Last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend my second ECET2 conference. My first Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching conference was at Raritan Valley Community College. It was an inspiring weekend where I got to collaborate with other educators from around NJ and PA, many of whom I know from having presented at other Ed Tech conferences and my PLN on Twitter.
My second ECET2 conference, however, featured some of my newest colleagues, my fellow 2015 County Teachers of the Year. Thanks to NJCTY and the Center for Teaching and Learning, we were able to get together and discuss current topics in education, explore the topic of Teacher Leadership, and collaborate on discussions to lead at the 2014 NJEA Teacher Convention during our session, "Hot Topics with Top Teachers". As teachers, many of us often feel isolated from our peers. Attending a conference with other like-minded educators is always a fulfilling and exhilarating experience.
The next day, we participated in an ECET2 NJ: Celebrating Teacher Leadership with other CTOYs, State TOYs, and other award winning teachers from around our state. Being in a room with that many well-resepected educators was awe-inspiring. Our keynote was given by Alex Kajitani, CA STOY 2009.
His topic was Teach. Lead. Repeat: Getting Real About What it Takes to be a Teacher Leader Today. Alex talked about challenges facing teacher leaders, from within our own schools and facing us on a local, state, and national level. A definite highlight was watching some of his Math rapping skills!
My favorite part of his keynote, however, was this thought-provoking video, called The Lost Generation.
We also heard about Using Social Media to Lead from Dyane Smokorowski, KS STOY 2013. She was awesome! Her energy and passion were palpable. Then we got "grilled" by Dani Kovach, NJ STOY 2011 and Jeanne DelColle, NJ STOY 2012 in their session on Developing Messaging as a Teacher Leader. I doubt any of us will forget about our "Extra rich and fudgy"!
I could go on and on. However, I will leave you with this final thought- the message behind ECET2 conferences. Our Voices Matter. We as teacher leaders need to use that voice to speak up, to reach out, and continue to lead in our own local communities and beyond, working for what is best for kids.