Why Preaching to the #educhoir Really DOES Matter

For the third straight year, I'm spending the last weekend in January learning alongside a TON of really bright minds at Educon — the ONE conference that I attend as a learner and a learner only. 

Ask anyone who has ever been to Educon and they'll tell you it's a pretty special experience.  There's just something magical about spending two full days with other people who share your passion — and your progressive vision — about what education COULD be. 

But you know what skeptics will say, right? 

They'll call Educon a professional echo chamber — a place where dissenting views are discourged and where people are wrestling with ideas rather than driving change.  They'll say that there's enough Rah-Rah to go around and that it's time that someone step forward and take action. 

They'll say that we need to stop preaching to the choir and start preaching to the pews!

Sometimes, though, spending time in the #educhoir DOES Matter:

(click to enlarge)

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The simple truth is that being a change agent can be a REALLY lonely experience.

And while we have to remind ourselves to constantly introduce dissenting voices to our learning streams, never discount the role that singing together can play in lifting us up, affirming our core values and beliefs, and fighting back against professional isolation. 

That in and of itself makes preaching to the #educhoir — and making time for #educon — worthwhile.

Any of this make sense?

#gratefulforSLA

 

11 thoughts on “Why Preaching to the #educhoir Really DOES Matter

  1. Datruss

    It’s a wonderful blend of affirmation, inspiration, and meaningful conversation… with ‘digital colleagues’ that are chin-deep and wading through what seems to be a riptide of circumstances that tend to push us in the wrong direction.
    That said, I firmly believe that the ‘echo chamber’ is being heard and it seems that where one person in every district was preaching, now we can almost find one in every school. An echo chamber is only an issue of concern if it is always the same voices, but the choir is getting bigger!
    We need to connect, and help each isolated voice know that the echo chamber is there for them too.
    I’m totally recharged after Educon… and meeting awesome folks like you f2f were a huge part of that!

  2. Bill Ferriter

    Beth wrote:
    All of this makes perfect sense. Its been two years since I last
    attended Educon, and I have felt somewhat lost. While I connect
    virtually with like-minded teachers, it is so special to connect with
    them face-to-face.
    – – – – – – –
    First, thanks a ton for stopping by, Beth! Ive learned a ton from you over the years, so to see you in this space is really cool for me.
    And second, that sense of feeling lost is something that trail blazers often feel, isnt it? When there arent very many people who are walking alongside us in our own little worlds, were forced into making choices based on our own intuition — and no matter how confident we are, its easy for doubt to creep in.
    Sure, we can find answers and guidance and advice in the blogs we follow and the digital streams we swim in.
    But what we get and Educon is so much more than that. We get empathy and genuine concern from other people who are walking the same paths and pushing through the same barriers.
    We get the chance to feel like WE belong, too — that were not the odd ducks in our schools and districts that no one really understands.
    That affirmation matters.
    Hope to meet you there next year!
    Bill

  3. Bill Ferriter

    Anneke wrote:
    Thanks for articulating something Ive been trying to put my finger on all weekend. The energy here matters so much.
    – – – – – – –
    No sweat, Anneke. Glad the language helped!
    I did some more thinking about Educon on the way home yesterday, and I think the reason it means so much to me is that its a place where I can go to be challenged too. For so many of us who have been pushing boundaries in our own little worlds for a long while, theres not a ton of opportunities to have our thinking pushed.
    Thats not a slight to the people that we work with in person — they are talented, capable folks too — but theres just something to be said for going to a place where trail blazers like us can be challenged too.
    Hope your travels home were safe,
    Bill

  4. Bill Ferriter

    Teacher by the Lake wrote:
    That being said, face-to-face adds a whole new dimension — we need to do that too!
    – – – – – – –
    Definitely agree, Lake. The opportunity to physically meet someone in person adds a layer of much needed texture to our digital relationships. Thats something I value more and more every year that I live in the digital world.
    Thanks for stopping by,
    Bill

  5. Teacherbythelake.wordpress.com

    I’m not at the conference but I think the experience of sharing our ideas is crucial, both for our own well-being and for the opportunity to build ideas together and make something new. The new power of social media for creating community is an exciting development. That being said, face-to-face adds a whole new dimension — we need to do that too!

  6. Anneke Radin-Snaith

    Thanks for articulating something I’ve been trying to put my finger on all weekend. The energy here matters so much.

  7. Beth Still

    All of this makes perfect sense. It’s been two years since I last attended Educon, and I have felt somewhat lost. While I connect virtually with like-minded teachers, it is so special to connect with them face-to-face. This has been an especially trying year and I really needed to go to Educon. I hope this is the last year I will have to skip this amazing opportunity to connect with you and so many exceptional educators.

  8. Ryan

    Well said Bill. I enjoyed meeting you today and discussing your tech problem. I look forward to singing with you in the #educhoir in the future!

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