BY MSTA PRESIDENT NICOLAS VASQUEZ
At the conclusion of each school year, I take time to reflect: making sure to celebrate the successes and create action steps for continued growth. Each time I am reminded of a few pivotal experiences that have undoubtedly shaped me as an educator. I’ve had the privilege of working with excellent administrators, some amazing teacher friends who have taken the time to mentor me, and a loving family. In addition, throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to attend unbelievable growth opportunities that include events like our very own Leadership Conference.
Every time I’ve been to Leadership Conference I’m reminded of just how important it is to attend. In the busyness of a summer schedule, we can easily justify staying home but the benefits definitely outweigh the thoughts keeping us from going. Although attending a conference can be more difficult than reading a book or listening to an audio teaching, as school leaders we should take advantage of these opportunities as often as we are able.
By attending we’re able to connect with like-minded educators spanning a wide range of specialties that willingly share tips, tricks, and ideas for us to implement at home or in the classroom. Even the most seasoned educators are able to find new ways of approaching topics or sharing an idea with students. As educators we are committed to a growth mindset, and conferences are the perfect opportunity to meet that need. In particular, group settings, like Leadership Conference, often lead to discoveries that a single person might not be able to find on their own.
One of the greatest benefits of attending this conference is building and cultivating personal connections. At the end of the day, our profession can often leave us feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and lonely. The benefit of making time to connect with other educators is their unique understanding of our journey. When faced with a challenge, an empathetic friend can be just what we need to see beyond the turmoil of our current circumstance.
It has been my experience that the vibe of this event allows us to let our guards down, remove the pressure of work hanging on our shoulders, talk about non-work topics, and discuss what we are learning from the conference. The conference offers sessions that are relevant to our profession and our presenters often use inspiring stories or motivating examples to communicate their message. The information gleaned at these sessions can be just what a person needs to move closer to meeting their full potential.
If you and your CTA leadership team are able to attend, I encourage you to meet during the breaks and after the conference to talk about what you learned. By doing so, you are able to solidify main points or takeaways of the presentations, provide each other with the perspectives of other CTAs, and make sure everyone is ready to successfully begin a new school year. Finally, it can be beneficial to talk about how each of you intends to apply what you’ve learned, which will reinforce what you’ve heard so it will remain in your mind and act as the conduit for practical application.
On my drive home from Leadership Conference, I can’t help but be filled with a renewed excitement for teaching. I’m ready to try new strategies, and grateful for the time spent with friends both old and new that last long after the conference is over. These moments of reflection remind me of the crucial role our members play in leading our association.
For all of these reasons and more, I look forward to seeing you at this year’s Leadership Conference. Whether you’ve been a part of this event since its infancy or will be attending for the first time, you won’t regret the decision to attend. For many participants, this event serves as the motivation and encouragement to take their CTA to the next step.
Peace. Love. Happiness