Educon was an amazing experience for me both professionally and personally. It provided me with an opportunity to put a face and voice to so many educators from across that country and Canada that have inspired, motivated, supported, and challenged me ever since I discovered this vibrant, connected community of learners in March of 2009. As I have written numerous times, I have grown and learned more in this short period of time than from any other professional development opportunity. I would not be the leader and learner I am today if it weren’t for the passionate educators that unknowingly push me to become better each day.
Being surrounded by a group of innovative educators that have broken down the walls of their institutions, challenged traditional methodologies, taken risks to benefit all learners, and readily share their knowledge and experiences provides the fuel for my intrinsic motivation to make a positive impact at my school. As I reflect on my weekend here in Philadelphia the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost resonates loudly with me and characterizes the attendees at Educon:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
To me, Educon is about the educators from all corners of the globe who refuse to abide by the status quo. These many trailblazers in our prestigious profession decided to take the road less traveled by pushing the boundaries of an educational system that is inadequate for learners today. To me, educators like this are heroes as they have pursued a path fraught with many obstacles such as lake of support, emphasis on standardized tests, micromanagement, isolation, and lack of resources. These have been overcome through an unwavering commitment and passion for engaging students no matter what the costs in order to place them on a path to success.
Frost ends his poem with this line, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” I feel extremely fortunate that I decided to take the path less traveled with not only those educators that attended Educon, but the collective group across the world that exhibit an unwavering dedication for making a positive impact on the life of a child.
In the words of Peter Senge, "You cannot force commitment, what you can do...You nudge a little here, inspire a little there, and provide a role model. Your primary influence is the environment you create." To me, this is what Educon is all about. How would you categorize your experience at Educon and/or your journey down the path less taken? What can be done to encourage other educators to go down this path with us?
Please feel free to check out and add to the Google Doc: A Collective Roadmap to Change from the Educon session I facilitated.