Tuesday, January 21, 2014

NEA Leadership Summit, Bowhead Whale, and Dan Thurmon Motivational Speaker

Remember what it is like your first day back after a fabulous professional development day and you are energized, full of ideas, and excitement? Well, I feel like that after attending the National Education Association's Western Region Leadership Summit.  I was told in November by CTA, California Teachers Association, that they had recommended me to attend the summit. I was totally jazzed but really being a doubting Thomas as to why I was chosen? Me? What does little old me have to offer? I am the President of my local association and in our area where I serve as the Women's Issue Chair for a tri-county, and I sit on a legislative body at our state council for Early Childhood Education. But there are sooo many people who are just as active in other ways so why me was still running in my head.

I am so thankful I was chosen!! I had a blast.  It was just the right amount of moving around, listening to inspiring and amazing speakers, and meeting educators from Alaska, Hawaii, and everywhere from the West Coast to Oklahoma.  I was so impressed by all of the teachers who shared their stories with me during our breakout sessions or in small groups.  I am still in awe of my Alaska native American Beverly who shared her people's concerns about Common Core and where indigenous tribes are to fit while managing their own curriculum so that the next generation doesn't forget who they are and where they come from.  Did you know her tribe still rely heavily on the bowhead whale for their meat? 

I enjoyed running into Princess Moss from the great state of Virginia. She is on the Executive Board and is running for NEA Secretary-Treasurer. I should have worn my power suit to go with her! Dan Thurmon opened up the event with juggling acts while reinforcing the message that we need to be off balance on purpose.  He spent some time cycling around the room on a unicycle while driving home the message that you won't ever get to where you are supposed to go if you don't stick your neck out a little bit.  He compared it to riding the unicycle. In order to stay balanced, he had to stick his upper body and head out in front a little bit while the back end pedaled and caught up. That is just like us. Unless you lean forward in uncertainty, you won't go forward. 

I was able to catch up with my friend George Sheridan, from northern California, who is running for NEA Executive Board this summer. We will see him again at NEA RA Delegate Assembly in Denver in July.  If you have the opportunity to serve as a delegate, do it! The only place I know where educators from all over the country sit together and work on what's right for kids... it must be important if every year the Vice President of the US addresses the assembled folks. 
Energized better than the bunny!! Hope everyone has a great week! Remember to lean forward!!

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