T's First Teacher = ME!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Sometimes when I think about being my son's first teacher, it makes me nervous. I have been teaching 5-7 year olds for almost 11 years now. I have taught them to read and write, solve math problems, think for themselves, work together, create a hypothesis, and so on and so on. But when it comes to your own kid, things are different. That is why it so important to have a network of moms. A group of women who will listen to your concerns, share their advice about home and school and volunteering and working with other moms. For me, that group of women includes my gal pals from Mom Congress!
I was lucky enough to serve as Georgia's delegate for 2011. This year I was a mentor and presenter (more on that later!) I headed to DC excited and ready to meet new people, learn new ideas, and be inspired. Check, check, and triple check!
Parenting Magazine's 3rd Annual Mom Congress was held April 29-May 1st and I was lucky enough to once again attend.  I can not tell you how much this experience continues to change me....for the better! I felt inspired, motivated, a part of a group unlike any other, and so on. This year was no different! The moms are amazing. They are doing unbelievable things in their states. I was taking notes! 
(Shondra and Felisa) 
Biggest takeaway of 2012? Hopeful. This was not just the Kimochi feeling on my table, but the feeling I walked away with. I am hopeful for the future of education in our country. I am hopeful that teachers and parents can work together in a positive manner. I am hopeful that our leaders can work with each other and us for the good of our children. I am hopeful that our children, my son, will grow up in an educational system that believes in them and supports them as individuals and as a whole. I am hopeful.
(new logo for 2012!)
Highlights of 2012? Anu Partanen. Her article, "What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success" has been of much discussion in my grad school class. I love it! In fact, several of us have joked about moving there. What do I love most about schools in Finland? "We trust our teachers." (Am I the only one hearing bells ring?) 

Another highlight--Rehema Ellis with NBC's Education Nation presented a panel discussion about the NEA's latest survey about parent teacher relationships. Find the results here. There were no big ah-ha's for me, but the data is interesting. 

Presenters included Lily Eskelsen (NEA VP,) Betsy Landers (National PTA President,) Sean Slade-a personal favorite (ASCD,) Susan Stiffelman (author, Parenting Without Power Struggles,) Mark Shriver (Senior Vice President US Programs, Save the Children,) Sam Kass (White House chef,) Darrell Hammond (KaBoom,) and Big Bob Lanier (NBA Cares Ambassador) and Byron Garrett (National Family Engagement Alliance.) I could go on for hours and hours!
A HUGE highlight for me as both a teacher and mommy was listening to US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. Read his speech here. His heart is in the right place. Do we always agree? No. Would the world be a better place if we did? Probably not. Am I waiting for his phone call to talk about teacher support and encouragement? YES!

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