I made a bunch of new friends and got to hear some excellent conference presentations. One of the highlights was hearing the poet/educator Taylor Mali speak and read some of his poems.
When I met him in person on the tram to dinner, we were insta-friends based on a competition to see who could name the most NPR reporters. NERD ALERT! If you've never heard his poem "What Teachers Make" you should watch this video below. It makes my heart happy.
It turned out to be quite fun- although extremely exhausting as I pretty much had to redo my slides between every session and every evening to get the sessions to be the way they needed to be. I really enjoyed meeting all of the other workshop leaders as well as they are big MYP fans as well. But, as I've said before, I've already lived through a terrible, terrible presenter experience with my friend Natalie where we had to spend the rest of the weekend in our room because we were so bad. So, only up from there, I say!
I didn't really see much of Brussels during the workshop because I was too dead at the end of the day to actually do much besides walk to the nearest pub with the other workshop leaders for wind-down drinks and food.
The giant glass of wine in the picture was just for decoration but I knew the minute I saw it, I would need my picture with it. Fortunately, my "boss" for my subject area at our regional office is highly supportive of antics such as this and MADE me take this picture.
The workshop was a really good learning experience and solidified for me that though I might not know about very much, the one thing I do know about is teaching middle school science- though I still have A LOT to learn in that area and especially in the area of working with adult learners.
I lead another three day workshop in Dubai at the beginning of March, this time about assessment practices in MYP science. I only had six people in my workshop this time whereas in Brussels there had been 25. Six people in a workshop is very different from 25 and in some ways, MUCH harder.
One of the things that made this particular workshop more difficult was that there was a woman in my workshop who continuously reminded me that she had a PhD in assessment and that she had 30 years experience. She basically contradicted every word I spoke and more or less "accused" me of not being an inquiry-based teacher. If you are not a teacher reading this, this statement probably doesn't mean much to you, but teachers out there-especially those who know my classroom, know that inquiry and constructivism are a big part of who I am in the classroom and one of my core beliefs/values as a practitioner. It took all I had not to freak out and yell at her and during one chunk of time, I actually had to go outside and do this...
I would really like to go back to Dubai again when I am not working to see it properly, enjoy the heat, and visit my friend Joy, who happened to be out of town the weekend I was there. Here are a few photos from Dubai.