One of the hardest things about working in a large school district is the unique combination of proximity and isolation that schools have to one another. There are over 200 public schools in Philly, but I’ve only been in a handful of them (and much of that happened the year I was in graduate school getting my teaching degree). Teachers can take an “observation day” to go see another school, but this needs principal approval, and with the current substitute fill rate, I expect administrators are loathe to release teachers from their classrooms. As a result, we’re all on our own islands. It can be tough to get into a colleague’s classroom next door, much less a different school.
But! There are not one but two fabulous events taking place in the next couple of months that do much to connect and enrich the professional lives of educators.
The first is Educon – Friday, January 29th to Sunday, Jan 31st. Here are a few highlights:
- Smack in the middle of your school year, this is a place to dream. We have conversations, throw out ideas, challenge each other, and get to hear from some fabulous speakers (including Philadelphia’s newly appointed Chief Education Officer Otis Hackney.)
- Folks from both around Philadelphia AND around the country come to visit SLA for a weekend. The opportunities for cross-pollination are huge.
- Virtually everybody from SLA will be presenting, so if you’re interested in x y or z aspect of the school, there is a session for you. My session is going to be a workshop on how to build the right online tools for your classroom.
The second is the February 26th Professional Development Day, where SLA will be hosting a Collaboration of Educators. Here are a few highlights:
- Can’t make it to EduCon on a weekend? Many of the SLA sessions (as well as sessions from other Philly schools) will be repeated here.
- Entire schools will be attending — if you would like your school to sign up en masse, let me know and I can issue your administration a formal invite. Ask now!
- There will be specific time for teachers from different subject areas to get to know each other, trade contact info, and share best practices.
I hope to see many of you at either (or both) events.