I know you might be thinking . . . Not another Vegas post! Yep, you’re right it’s another one. And if you are sick of seeing all the pictures and reading about the great week we all had, then by all means, you have my permission to skip this post. I completely understand that it might be getting to be a bit much. (But please start saving your pennies because I would love to see you there next year!) But if you have any interest at all in knowing how Vegas left my heart FULL and me feeling blessed then here’s my recap.
|Photo courtesy of What the Teacher Wants. Maria from Kinder-Craze, Me, Mary from Sharing Kindergarten and Jodi from Fun in First Grade|
I think the reason that everyone who attended Vegas is on an incredible 'high' right now is that for many months out of the year, teachers are confined to their rooms with their students and have very little, if any, interaction with other adults. Face it! Teaching is a pretty isolated profession. We spend our days with children because we love them and that is our calling, but most of us have very little chance to collaborate and work with other teachers.
Then comes the Internet and our world as teachers has suddenly become a million times smaller. We can chat with like-minded educators, share our stories, our concerns and our daily happenings. The Internet, blogging, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and, yes, TpT has opened made the teacher world a much smaller place, more intimate, friendly and there is suddenly a feeling of community! Unfortunately, for many of us, this community only happens in the cyberworld, but for those of us that were lucky enough to travel to Vegas last week, our cyber world suddenly came to life. We were able to meet, speak with and hug on the teacher friends we have been familiar with only through the Internet. It was incredibly surreal and amazing at the same time.
I was so humbled by the amazing teachers I was able to meet. Teachers just like me that were looking for ways to improve their own instruction, teachers who I have been reading and admiring for years and teachers who I have chatted with via email or Facebook and who I have called 'friends' but who I were just now meeting.
My heart was and still is SO full.
Was it fun? Absolutely. Whenever you get the opportunity to hang with 'friends' it's going to be fun. I was lucky enough to get to room with one of my bestest blogging buddies, Maria from Kinder-Craze. She is so incredibly smart, and I love collaborating and working on new ideas with her.
It also felt a little bit like seeing family. Annie Moffatt has been my cyber pal for years now, and we had never met in real life until Vegas. She is just as lovely, humble and sweet as she seems on her blog. I just adore her. I am definitely claiming her as my other sister and making myself an honorary Moffatt Girl.
But mostly . . . it was just fun! My Freebie friends are the best. Jennifer, from First Grade Blue Skies, is just as smart and funny as she seems on her blog. Honest.
The blessings of Vegas continued when I was able to meet teachers who I admired and followed for years. Do you know Deedee Wills the hardest working kindergarten teacher ever? Like who doesn't right. She is so gracious, giving and witty. And Deanna Jump is as down to earth as your next door neighbor. Her opening statements at the TpT conference left an audience of 800 teachers crying, laughing and totally inspired.
It was a blessing to be present for that first ever TpT conference and to hear the words of our founder Paul Edelman. His story confirmed what everyone already knew about him. As once a teacher himself, he is committed to empowering teachers. He has given teachers wings and opened up a whole new world of collaboration between teachers throughout the world. We all have benefited from his vision.
Finally, working with the Freebielicious girls in our I Teach K booth was amazing. These ladies are the best of the best in the teacher world, and I get to call them my friends. Together, we all share a common goal for Freebielicious; to provide quality FREE products for teachers and their students. But the greatest blessing we had was meeting and speaking with all of you. Thanks to everyone and anyone who stopped by. You will never know how blessed we are by your support and friendship.
Love you Freebie Girlies!