Reform Symposium, A Reflection

Growing up and through most of college, I have always hated working in teams. The reason was simple; I always ended up doing most of the work. This was due to many factors including the people I was working with, poorly planned assignments, and, most of all, my own neuroses. Recently, I had the honor of working with Shelly Terrell, Chris Rogers, and Shelly Terrell on the free educational conference, the Reform Symposium. I was honest at the outset that I knew this was going to be a terrible summer for me time-wise, due to both personal and professional reasons, so I most likely would not be able to an integral part of the group. I have to say that I have never worked with a more dedicated, hard-working team. They did an awesome job of moderating the sessions, planning, inviting speakers, getting prizes, designing the website, training speakers and volunteers, and more. If you have any experience planning conferences, you know what a colossal job this is. They have made a tangible difference in the minds of many educators and they deserve all the credit in the world. Many thanks also go out to our dedicated sponsors and volunteers.

I was only able to catch a handful of sessions unfortunately. Two that stood out to me were George Couros’s session on Identity Day, and Joan Young’s and Lisa Dabb’s joint session for new teachers. George’s passion was palpable and I could see how it resonated with everyone in the final session. So many people want to emulate his Identity Day; more importantly, they will be making a point to better know their students as a result of his presentation. Joan and Lisa have such hearts for helping and coaching others, new teachers in particular.

There are many, many sessions that I will be watching and reflecting on over the next two weeks (I could watch them all in 2 days, but unfortunately some us not named Shelly actually sleep. :)). I really had hoped to catch the panel discussion with John C. Carver and Patrick Larkin. Joe Bower’s session on abolishing grades is sure to be interesting. Steven Anderson’s closing keynote was amazing, I am sure, as he always is.

Beyond the sessions, though, what amazed me most was what always does: the teachers. Teachers really are some of the more hard-working and caring people on the planet. That was evidenced by many people spending their entire weekend at the conference. I believe over 2000 people were represented and almost every session had over 100 people participating (not listening, participating). That is amazing and I can’t wait to work with everyone again.

6 comments to Reform Symposium, A Reflection

  • betty ray
    Twitter: EdutopiaBetty

    Nice post, Jason. I totally agree that the symposium was incredible, and I only wish I’d had more time during the weekend to participate. Looking forward to the archives, and – more importantly – the impact of these great discussions in the classroom.

  • George Couros
    Twitter: gcouros

    Jason…thanks for all of the work you did for this. In its first year, what an amazing BUZZ on Twitter for the conference. I absolutely loved it. I am blown away by how many people took part when they are on “holidays”.

    Thanks so much for mentioning me in your post as well. It is an honour that I stuck out to you with all of the amazing presenters. I am humbled that I was even asked to present.

    Thanks again for all of your hard work on this! Your school and kids are lucky to have you :)
    George Couros´s last blog post ..Reform Symposium Keynote rscon10

  • Jason,
    Thank you for the kind words about the presentation that Lisa and I did at the conference. And, most importantly, thank you for all of the work you did in working with the organizing team.
    I think that the energy and participation during the weekend will lead to some wonderful passionate pursuits in this upcoming school year. Thanks again. I am honored to be a part of such a wonderful network of caring and authentic educators.
    Joan Young´s last blog post ..So Youve Got a Great Idea Want to Get it Published

  • Shelly Terrell
    Twitter: shellterrell


    Thanks for being one of the co-founders of this! Our team was incredible and I love the volunteers who stepped forth, presenters who gave up their time to do incredible presentations, the sponsors who donated, and like you said especially the educators who came from 59 countries! Can’t wait to work with you again next year!
    Shelly Terrell´s last blog post ..Giving In Is The First Step Towards Failure by Marisa Pavan 30Goals

  • Paula Naugle
    Twitter: plnaugle

    Thank you for your dedication to bringing such wonderful learning opportunities to us. I am amazed at how something so HUGE can be accomplished when people are passionate about what they are doing.

    My enthusiasm is spilling over as I get ready to take all I learned this weekend back into my classroom.I am glad that I will be able to shared the archives with others.
    Paula Naugle´s last blog post ..Thank You for Reform Symposium 2010

  • ktenkely
    Twitter: ktenkely

    Jason, I have had the same experience with working in teams. I haven’t enjoyed that type of collaboration because the work usually fell on my shoulders. I can say without hesitation that this was the best team-collaborative experience I have ever had. It was a pleasure working with you all. It was better than I could have expected!
    ktenkely´s last blog post ..Redefining Cheating on Dreams of Education

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