Promising Practices Reflection
On my drive to the Promising Practices Conference early Saturday morning, I began to panic because I realized I forgot to print out my ticket. Upon arriving I entered Donovan to find out that they were not checking tickets which made me think, "did I really have to spend $16 on this?" Despite this small dilemma I was able to find all my classmates and sit with them in the beginning of the conference. Each speaker introduced themselves, and spoke a little about how they were involved in Promising Practices. This may be a little blunt to state. but to be honest this part greatly bored me and I did not see how I was benefitting from listening to the panel of speakers talk about themselves. I began to look around the room and saw that at least seventy-five percent of the people who were attending the conference were preoccupied with their phones and the rest just didn't seem to care. I was completely turned off from the conference when it began to turn into a political debate verses a learning and educational environment.
The part that made me most uncomfortable was when questions we open to be asked by the audience. To be truthful I had no idea what was going on throughout the speeches so I had no need to ask any questions however, I felt very incompetent and uneducated when other people began to speak. They began asking such complex and detailed questions I sat there wondering why I was at this conference because I felt like I did not belong.
After being released from the hour and a half panel of speeches I attended my first conference which was "Real Voices." Once again I sat before a panel of speakers except this time I was a little more interested in the subject they were speaking about. No visuals such as handouts or powerpoints were provided and this honestly made me a little less engaged in this conference. I am a visual type of learning and I feel as if the speakers provided me with someone to look at during their speech I would be more engaged and interested in what they were saying. However, one of the speakers was a girl around my age so it was nice to hear her story and why she was involved with her group because I felt as though I could relate to her.
My second conference went a lot better then my first one did. I attended "Project Citizen" where State Coordinators, Michael Trofi and Michael Connolly were speaking about education for democratic citizenship. I was handed a manila folder with multiple informational packets in it which I mustb say was impressive. I really enjoyed listening to Michael Connolly speak because he was a very engaging speaker who involved and addressed the audience throughout his speech. He had a very smooth voice and even joked a little while talking which made his conference enjoyable. I felt relaxed and comfortable throughout this conference and paid close attention while the two speakers talked about ways to teach students how to become a part of public policy as a democratic citizen. I found this workshop very helpful because as an elementary school teacher I will be teaching some history and politics and it is important to be educated in the world around us. What I found really helpful was a paper provided that had what exactly students should be learning in each grade regarding politics. I thought this was very interesting and a useful tool for my toolbox for becoming a teacher.
What I did not find helpful at all was the keynote speaker because I was not sure how this speech tide in and to be honest I was quite tired of hearing the word, "Chicago." I found this section of the conference useless and was not very pleased with the speaker. This part of the conference was very long which made me realize that the workshops were very short. It was very hard for the speakers in the workshops to get their points across with the small time they had and it did not help them that they were constantly interrupted by the people who kept reminding them to handout their survey sheets. I believe the speakers were pressured to pack a large amount of information into a small amount of time which made their speeches poor.
Overall I found my second conference very beneficial and I walked away with a lot of useful tools to teach children about the democratic world around them. I really liked how I was provided with the folder and all the information inside it. It was nice to finally have someone to help educate me not only on a specific topic, but how to teach that specific topic to children.