Five days after school let out, I found myself in tears in an auditorium at Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. I felt as if someone had ripped my educator’s heart out and displayed it for all to see. Such was the power of Angela Maiers‘ keynote at the iSummit Conference this year.
I attended the conference at the suggestion of my colleague. Not knowing much about it, I was along for the ride. Excited to experience something new, learn more about 1:1 iPad implementation in the classroom. I expected to learn, but did not expect to be taking deep breaths as to not embarrass myself within the first 30 minutes of the conference.
Admittedly, I did not know who Angela Maiers was before the conference. Her books, Habitudes and The Passion Driven Classroom, sounded vaguely familiar – though I have not read them. The night before, I found out the theme of her keynote would revolve around Be Brave (my classroom’s motto for this year). That is when the excitement began. That is when anticipation built. That is when I knew I could walk away from this conference with a fire lit inside me – even after the last day of school when the fire is petering out.
Angela is not only a gifted speaker, she is personable and down to earth. She is warm and welcoming. At her follow up session – she hugged me upon introduction. She looked me in the eye. She saw me. All of these things are key points in her work. Your students should be seen. They should be heard. They should know they matter. She practices what she preaches.
Walking away from Maiers’ keynote, I reflected on my own classroom this year and how powerful BE BRAVE was for us. I felt disappointed about not knowing of #youmatter and #choose2matter during this year. My students really would have jumped on board with that. I have not “filed” it away for next year. I am keeping it front and center in my mind – so I can work within myself over the summer. So I can practice what I preach. So I can lead by example. As Angela said: “We are not teaching the leaders of tomorrow – or leaders in training – we are teaching leaders now.” Our children do not believe in the word IMPOSSIBLE. To them, everything is possible. One just needs to try. One just needs to be brave.
What does it mean to be brave? According to my haphazard, excitedly typed because I didn’t want to miss a thing, but didn’t want to forget either, notes:
1. Love yourself YOU MATTER What is your genius?
2. Be true to who you are – What is your superpower? Be someone else’s superhero. What breaks your hear about the word? Act on that!
3. Be that – who you are – EVERYDAY. DREAM AUDACIOUSLY!
4. Never, ever, ever give up – EVER! Surround yourself with people who will not let you fail – who will not let you be comfortable. Invite fear. The riskiest thing you can do is stay safe. To sustain bravery, you cannot do it alone.
As I leave you with Angela’s TedTalk from 2011, I ask you – How Big is Your Brave?