It’s not about the Hoopla

This week was our state’s yearly “First Grade Conference.” My teaching partner and I have attended this conference each year it has been offered; in hopes of finding new and fresh ideas to bring back to our classrooms and our kids. This year was no different, and yet it was.

We have to leave our small town at 6:15 in the morning to make the two hour trip to the “big city” and the conference. As usual because of traffic and construction we are not aware of (we don’t live in this city remember) we arrive late and a few minutes into the key note speakers address. After finally finding seats in opposite areas of the room we settle in to listen to the speaker. His name is Danny Brassells and is very interesting and funny to listen to.

As I listen to the Danny talk about the difference we make as first grade teachers, and the important things teachers do; my eyes scan the room. I see teachers in all areas of their lives, older and younger than I am some from larger schools and some from smaller. Some that have taught for years and some that are just beginning. And yet here we sit all with the same purpose in mind; the hope to find newer, better ways to teach and reach our kids.

The group is smaller than it was in those first years. There are less presenters, and less “hoopla.” Budget cuts have kept many schools and districts from being able to attend. Budget cuts have led to less presenters and less of the “extras” like free lunches and snacks, and the nifty bags filled with goodies for the teachers (that we all own too many of).

And yet through smallness of the crowd I see the one thing budget cuts have not been able to take away.  The comrade of fellow teachers, the want to better ourselves, and the desire to find that one thing that will reach the one student we may be struggling with. The desire to know we are not in this alone, and although this year may be smaller and different, we are still the same.

Before we began our day today the SDE representative asked us to answer a couple of questions on a sheet of paper. The first was; what is working in education today? And what frustrates us about education today? I thought about them both as I listened to the presenters and I knew my answer was easy, teachers. Teachers work in education today, tomorrow and yesterday.  And what frustrates’ me is those that don’t know teachers get to be the ones to decide what it is they think schools and teachers need and want.

These are the people that should attend a First Grade conference. They should be beside us as we listen to the speakers. They should scan the room and take in the amount of caring and desire that sits there. Feel the caring we have to better ourselves, better our schools and classrooms, all for our kids. Whether there is “hoopla” or not.


2 responses to this post.

  1. I have heard/seen Danny Brassells too. He is certainly entertaining yet there was a good message in his presentation. I agree with you on who should be making the decisions. Some legislators should live in the school world for a while before making decisions.


  2. Welcome to the SOLS Challenge. I’m looking forward to slicing my way through March with you.


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