As I prepare for FETC, I still face the dilemma that every media specialist has when embarking on a learning expedition off-campus, "But why, are you going for four days? Isn't one day enough?" This is the resounding question as I prepare to leave my media center closed for four days, since we no longer have assistants, or other staffers willing to manage the space in my absence. (This point is definitely a separate post.) To the point, the learning opportunities that are available at FETC once a year cannot be jammed into one-24 hour period. In my opinion, I really don't think 4 days is enough, but I am going to give it my best shot.
Here are the best reasons I can give for a media specialist to attend all 4 days of FETC. (Please feel free to use this post as evidence when negotiating your attendance.)
Best Practices of nationally recognized programs
1. Media Specialists live and work in a bubble, the media center. The conversations and contact we have happens when someone walks into the door of our media center, on the phone or email, or on the rare occasion that we break from tradition and exit the door into the mysterious world of the school outside the media center. If you are lucky, you have a district that provides a regularly meeting PLC for media specialists, (I do in Osceola County) but this may only be once a month or once a quarter. We know we simply can't learn everything we need to know in those few stolen moments for a couple of hours 3 or 4 times a year. We need more opportunities to be exposed to learn the best practices of other professionals working in this field. I am looking forward to Ellen Laurence's session on Library Transformers: Utilizing Technology to Enhance your Program. Ellen has been featured in Knowledge Quest and has a nationally recognized media program. While I use many of the same tools that Ellen uses, I want to know her best practices and compare them to my own.
Today, I sit in anticipation of next week's FETC, a technology conference in Orlando. Every corpuscle of my mind and body is preparing for a week of immersion into professional learning with my tribe, my fellow library/media specialists and techy people in education. I eagerly await the opportunities that I will find there.
I know it can be a hurtle to leaving your building to go to a conference. We think we can't get away because so much will not be completed without us. But, how can we improve if we don't focus on our own professional learning? I remind myself every year that my attendance matters not only to me but also to those who will benefit from my learning. Here are ten reasons why you should make this leap:
1. Finding Motivation. What can I say? From the moment I enter the door to the opening keynote speaker until the end where I stumble back to my car, I am excited and cannot wait to learn. The banter, the conversations, the signs, the booths, the displays, the learning all energize me.