After spending one day a month together, I would say that the members of the cadre and I were good acquaintances. We shared a common interest in working hard to make blended learning happen in our individual classrooms across the district. We worked each month under Megan’s guidance to sharpen our skills in canvas to help make our goal of blended learning easier.
Fast forward to March, I got an email saying “Are you in?” The email stated that I was being invited to Keystone, Colorado to attend InstructureCarn. It is a major Canvas conference. I had heard rumors about this conference, so without hesitation, I replied YES!
Fast forward again to July, I am getting packed up for Keystone. I have mixed emotions! I am super excited to head to Keystone, but slightly nervous to be with 12 fellow cadre members that I really do not know that well.
We arrived safely (after a VERY scenic ride up the mountains)! We have lunch before the first session begins. I can already tell that this is going to be a game changer for me. The next two days we continue to attend keynote speakers, breakout sessions, share meals, enjoy the activities planned for us, and even ride the chairlift up the mountain to enjoy the breath taking views.
As I sat to write a post about InstructureCarn, my biggest take away was that I can now say instead of 12 acquaintances that I met with once a month, I now have 12 friends I know I can call on for whatever I need. As I had that first thought, I pondered if that was enough. Was strengthening relationships enough of a take away from a major conference? It wasn’t until I met with a brand new teacher in my building did I decide, YES, of course it is. The new teacher’s first question was about classroom management. He wanted to know how to be successful. In my opinion, building relationships is the single most important piece to classroom management. It is worth your time to spend a few days at the beginning of the year to get to know your students. Why then, would I doubt that this is not also important for teachers with their colleagues.
After the four days we spent together, I know just who I can call, text, or email when I am trying to set up a blending learning lesson that just will not work out right, or set up a technology station that just isn’t working, or a lesson that I spent so much time planning falls short. I wish that each and every teacher out there has other colleagues they can call upon both inside their building and outside of it. If you do not, I encourage you to reach out to someone in your building you maybe do not know yet; someone in another grade, or a different subject. Work on a common project together, or eat lunch together, or work on a school project together. Teaching can be lonely if you let it. Take the time to get to know your colleagues. Keep positive and keep working together for the kids!
**Disclaimer- in addition to getting to know my colleagues more, I also learned TONS about Canvas. I learned about using outcomes instead of grades, mastery paths for choice options, and using canvas for the greater school needs. I feel extremely lucky to be part of the group chosen to represent Richmond Community Schools at InstructureCarn this year.
Today's thoughts come to us from Ms. Katie Belanga. Katie is a 7th grade math teacher in her third year with Richmond Community Schools. Katie received her bachelor’s degree from The University of Toledo. She has previously taught in Columbus, Ohio and Nashville, Tennessee. Katie was honored to receive Teacher of the Year for Test Intermediate and Secondary Teacher of the Year for Richmond Community Schools for 2018. Katie and her husband Chip have three children, Logan, Gavin, and Addie, who keep them busy. The family also has a one year old golden-doodle named Oakley. Katie likes to be outside in both the summer and winter in her spare time.