My workshop on using expressive writing as a tool for thinking went very well. people were kind and excited, and so easy to work with. I watched teachers' lightbulbs turn on and beamed a little myself as people shared those moments where my ideas were clicking for them. My colleagues shared some great ideas as well. Every workshop I presented gave me something that I can use in the upcoming weeks of teaching.
The overwhelming theme of the day was gratitude. Participants were grateful for the ideas we were sharing. Presenters were grateful for the participants who came and shared. Everyone was happy to be thinking about their classrooms in a meaningful way.
This is rare though. Usually my experiences with professional development don't end this way. I think the key element to the success of our day, as opposed to full day school district events, or after school PLC meetings is the idea of choice. Throughout the day we built in choice at every step, but that is not the choice I am talking about. Everyone who came to our conference had chosen to be there. Nobody had been urged by their principal. Nobody had been contractually obligated to go. People came for one reason- they wanted to spend the day learning. I don't know how to bring that energy back into school, but I wish I did.