Wow, what a crazy few weeks! After an amazing trip to Hawaii with my family. I was home less than 24 hours before I was back at the airport heading to Vegas for the SDE iTeachK Conference. Some of you may remember that I attended with my teammate Jenna last year and we had a blast. (To read about our fun adventure, click here). Things were different this time around though, I was presenting!
Since this was my first time presenting for SDE, they call it a Peer-to-Peer Presentation. It’s basically a trial to see how you do and to get a feel for presenting at a national conference. Plus they pay for you to attend the conference! So not only do you get to share your ideas with others, you get to soak up some other great presentations as well.
I was pretty nervous but I was speaking about Maker Space, which I love and am so passionate about. I had also been practicing for a few months and luckily had thought enough ahead to be all ready to go before I left for Hawaii. Thank goodness because that was a fast turn around!
When my husband and I arrived in Vegas it was 10am but we were able to check in to the Venetian and get our room early. After putting our stuff down in the room, I headed over to the conference center to check in as a PRESENTER! All of the staff at SDE was so warm and welcoming. I got my presenter packet, badge and room assignment. I also met my contact person, Kymra, who was an amazing and kind resource throughout the entire process. I went to check out the room I would be presenting in and walk around watching how much fun so many teachers were having. Being at a PD event seeing teachers excited and happy about learning new things is amazing!
By this point I was so exhausted and still on Hawaii time so I had to sneak back to my hotel room and take a nap. It was the best thing I could have done because I woke up feeling so much better. There was a social gathering that night for the SDE presenters and staff at a really yummy restaurant called Table10. I headed over by myself, a little nervous that I didn’t know anyone, but as soon as I arrived I began chatting with other presenters and felt very comfortable. I loved getting to meet teachers from all over our country who are so excited to share their ideas and encourage their fellow teachers. I got to meet some more of the SDE staff, who again were like little happy fairies flitting around the entire conference. I also got to see some very well known presenters in the Kindergarten field and admire them from afar. I have to admit I was a little star struck! Overall, the food/drinks were great and it was an awesome night meeting fellow presenters.
When I woke up Wednesday, the time had finally arrived. I was nervous, but also really excited. I rehearsed my presentation in the morning and then headed towards the conference hall around lunch. SDE spoils their presenters and provides lunch everyday :0) This was another good opportunity for me to meet other teachers and learn more about the SDE community. It was great because it got my mind off of being nervous too!
I was allowed in my room 30 minutes before my session was scheduled to start which gave me time to set up some tables and get my laptop up and running with the projector. Unfortunately, I ran into a little problem with one of my videos playing correctly but the AV support was amazing. Between my husband and 2 AV guys that work for the conference center they were able to work it out just in time. I also realized I had to wear a microphone which added to the nerves but by this point it was do or die.
I was really nervous once I got started but amazingly enough after about 5 minutes instinct took over (or God just took pity on me) and I finally fell into a grove. I was able to share what a Maker Space is, why I love having one in my classroom, how kids participate in Maker Space, the process of Maker Space, plus some extra tips and tricks at the end. The audience was awesome! Very engaged, asking questions, taking pics of the slides, etc. The only thing lasted about 75 minutes but it went by so fast! Then after the presentation I was able to chat with some teachers one of one who had specific questions. Looking back on things now, I feel so honored to have been able to share my ideas with my peers. I love that this conference is really focusing on engaging PD that equips teachers with so much great knowledge to go back and make a difference in their classrooms. It was amazing!
That night my husband and I went out to celebrate that I had gotten through my first national presentation and our 13th year wedding anniversary! We had a blast!
Overall, I can’t say enough positive things about my experience. It definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone but I am better for it. I also came home with new ideas swirling around in my head about how to make this next year even better for my incoming kindies!
Have you had any great PD this summer? I would love to hear about it in the comments :0)