As I boarded the plane for my journey from Indianapolis to Denver, I was overwhelmed with excitement and nervousness. Thoughts of the last year raced through my head. I never would have thought that by joining the NextGen Cadre and diving into an unknown year, I’d be flying to Keystone, Colorado to be a presenter at InstructureCon 2017!
I was given an opportunity to join this cadre and learn more about how I could use and incorporate our new LMS, Canvas, into my classroom. It was a yearlong endeavor that took some convincing for this kindergarten teacher who wasn’t always so sure I could make it work for my young learners. What I learned throughout this process was that it was alright to make mistakes along the way while I tried to find the best path for my students and myself. I had to shift my mindset to the positives and look at all of the wonderful things coming from being pushed out of my comfort zone.
When I first found out I was going to InstructureCon 2017, of course I had to share the news with my friends and family. The common thing everyone would say to me was, “be prepared for the air up there in the mountains.” I had done my research and was ready to hydrate. I didn’t want to push myself since I knew the air would be thinner and regular activities might seem more challenging. I must say the air up there (or lack thereof) is definitely a real thing! Sometimes it made daily activities more difficult, but mostly it just made me slow down and take more time to breathe.
InstructureCon allowed me the opportunity to slow down and take the time to look back at how far I had come and look ahead to the future. Between the amazing keynotes, breakout sessions, and preparing for my own presentation, it offered beautiful scenery, great conversations, and unique gatherings. InstructureCon renewed my love of learning and pushed me to want more. The excitement and spirit of the conference was contagious. I realized just how much my mindset had shifted for the better. I just hope those who attended the session, led by Hunter, Richard, and myself, were able to feel our excitement and take it back to their colleagues.
The last day of the conference was full of reflection and camaraderie. Our entire Richmond group decided to take a break and venture up one of the mountains. When we made it to the top there was a lot of quietness. It was a time we all needed so badly to just breathe and reflect upon our experiences. Did we struggle throughout the year like we did walking up the mountains? Absolutely, but the view at the top was worth every breath we worked for. Just like the pride and satisfaction we had of knowing how much we had accomplished in one school year.
So when people tell me to be prepared for the air up there, I can tell them the air up there is perfect!
Melody Williams is a kindergarten teacher in her 8th year of teaching at Richmond Community Schools. She has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from IU East and a Bachelor’s Degree in Middle Childhood Education from Wright State University. Melody has previously taught Reading Recovery and Special Education although her passion lies in kindergarten. In 2015, she earned REA Teacher of the Month and in 2016, was named Crestdale Elementary Teacher of the Year. Melody and her husband, Lee, have two young children, Kyson and Kynsie, who keep them very busy. In her spare time, Melody enjoys spending time with her friends and family.