My first conference was NECC 2006 in San Diego. When my boss and I had learned about the conference, it was abundantly clear that this conference was cost prohibitive for our small Catholic school. However at that time I was a full-time student, my conference fee was $90 and we decided to 'try it out'.
And in the years since my first conference The Bank of Sjogren has had to pay for parts of the conference. However, each year I come back with learning that was valued well over the cost of the registration, plane ride, and hotel stay. So in our books, it is worth it.
But as always after each conference my mind is swirling and after reading those two posts, I thought up this question:
What is the value of the Young Educator?
I heard once, "I am not going to do anything because I am young and no one cares what I have to say." In fact, that is about as far away from the truth as you can get. Last year, I was nominated to SIGilt's Board as their Communications Chair. Sure I had to prove myself... first by winning the election, publishing a newsletter to meet the masses and getting time-sensitive information out. That when I arrived on Saturday morning to the SIG Leadership meeting, I saw:
SIGilt and SIG Board Committee
Sure, I have gone beyond my initial role on SIGilt, but I knew that my contributions were worth it. That what I had done proved to some one on the ISTE Board of Directors, that my ideas were good. However, sitting in the meeting on Saturday it was apparent that the SIG's need more young leaders- Katie Christo, Bryan O'Black, Jayme Johnson, and I'm sure I have forgotten a few others, cannot carry forth new ideas for ISTE's special interest groups.
And nor can Julie LaChance (ISTE's first Outstanding Young Educator), Adam Bellow, Christopher Craft, Andy Crozier, Mary Beth Hertz and myself (Class of 2010 Emerging Leaders). Why?
Even if we are young, our ideas are worth it.
And if you are scared to step up and share your ideas- take this one take away:
While backstage awaiting to be announced as part of the first class of ISTE Emerging Leaders, I readily admitted that I was nervous... yes me the speedskater who has skated at US Nationals- was nervous to go on the stage. I was not afraid to be in front of the entire crowd, I was afraid of the word 'emerging'. After a few minutes of playing positive mental games with myself, I realized that 'emerging' meant that someone saw that I am committed to this charge of promoting leadership with ISTE's youngest members and showing that my our ideas are worth it. And you know what? I bet every person I stood with on that stage plus the youngest members of the SIG Leadership Teams, would say the same thing.