Why You Should Attend #ntcamp

This Saturday, I am travelling about 2 hours to spend my day off at the Boys’ Latin Charter School in Philadelphia at an education conference. Sounds boring, right? Well, if that is your first thought, you have never been to a really good unconference. An unconference is generally where anyone can come for free and present for free. #ntcamp is the Twitter hashtag for New Teacher Camp, modeled after Ed Camp Philly and organized by @andycinek, @rkiker, and others.

The conference is “devoted to new teachers, K-12 education issues, and ideas.” I am not a new teacher (This is the first year I think I’ve really been able to say that since a district gave me tenure last year, right before I quit.), but it is not necessary that you be a new teacher. It would be wonderful if you brought a new teacher. This unconference will help to get new teachers started off on the right foot as well as help other teachers by exposing them to authentic educational dialogue and new ideas. If you have something that you feel strongly about, that you like to share with others, then just sign up in the morning when you arrive. I’m thinking of leading a session on why traditional assessment models are flawed and how to utilize standards-based grading. The first sessions starts at 8, although I’m planning on getting there around 7.

Much of the conference, I understand, will be livestreamed. This means that you can watch it from the comfort of your home and participate in the conversation via the Twitter backchannel. So, why am I leaving my wife and daughters in NJ to hang out in Philly (Don’t feel bad. They’re going to hang out with plenty of aunts and uncles they haven’t seen a while.)? Connections. I am really excited to meet some amazing educators either again or for the first time. I have been talking to many of the people coming on Twitter for a long time and have come to value their insight and opinions. It will be great to help form relationships. I can testify from when I hosted another unconference, TeachMeet Nashville, that meeting other educators in person really solidifies the connections you make and makes it feel more “real.”

Friends from far away: I met @web20classroomand @shannonmmillerat TeachMeet Nashville. I’m thrilled their coming from Carolina and Iowa respectively. @cybraryman1and his wife are coming up from Florida; he has been vital to so many educators. @kylepaceis  coming from Kansas City. These are all excellent supportive educators who have helped to challenge my thinking.

Awesome Tri-State Teachers: I haven’t met most of these people in person yet, but they have been invaluable. @hadleyjf(I may where the Twitter shirt you got me), @PaulaWhite, @mbteach, @doremigirl, @andycinek, @rkiker, @tomwhitbyand more are definitely coming. I hope other tri-state area teachers can make it out; @spedteacher, @kjarrett, @Aaron_Eyler, @dancallahanI’m talking to you here. :) These are all leaders in education and I look forward to making new connections. I hope I can connect with you as well. If Shannon and Jerry can come from Iowa and Florida, surely you can come too, right? See you on Saturday at 8.

  • http://pgcummings.wordpress.com Philip Cummings

    I am totally jealous that you are getting to see all these folks in person. Hugs & Hi-5′s to all from me. Ok?

  • http://jasontbedell.com Jason Bedell

    Definitely. I know you already took one vacation, but I bet you can fly in just for one day, right?

  • http://ilearntechnology.com ktenkely

    Darn! Wish I could be there with you all but just can’t swing it. Hopefully I’ll be there virtually!
    ktenkely´s last blog post ..JASON Science- Eco Defenders