The third annual Comprehensible Midwest Conference was hold in Milwaukee from October 5 – October 7, 2018. We welcomed 365 second language teachers who speak 13 different languages and come from 20 states, with more than 30 internationally, nationally and locally recognized presenters, to share, inspire, connect and support with each other together.
Here is the closing message which I have delivered. Also, sharing few photos from the conference.
How do you all feel now? Excited? Inspired? Tired? Overwhelmed? Confused? Fearful? …
Please allow me to assure you that it is totally normal to have all of these feelings or maybe, not feelings at all!
As we wrap up the day, one question probably lingers around all of our heads is: what do we do beyond CIMW18?
Well, please allow me to share a story with you. This summer, I went to Harvard University’s project Zero classroom summer institute, it was absolutely amazing. And, the most amazing part was meeting these educational icons, such as Howard Gardner, David Parkins and Tina Belythe, and witnessing the true humanity in them.
Right now, I’m taking an online class which Tina has designed from Harvard. Tina has become a mentor for me.
She told me a story which I think you would enjoy to hear. When Tina was a new teacher, one time, her school offered an in-service training on creative writing. She was teaching science back there, she couldn’t make the connection, nor saw the relevance with what she was doing. She grew more and more frustrated. When it finally ended, she walked out the room rolling her eyes and started to vent with a colleague. She was expecting her colleague to share the sentiments, to her surprise, her colleague asked: “Really, you didn’t find anything useful? I found the driftwood I have been looking for.”
After some serious introspection, Tina said: That’s right, every experience we have, especially a big, shared group experience is like taking a group of kids to a beach. Some might find a pebble, some might find a snail, some might find a shell to bring back. Some might not find nothing. But, no one is going to the whole beach back.
Last night, when I was with Laurie Clarcq, the brilliant, wise and one and only Laurie Clarq, we were talking about how to spread TCI. Laurie said: we teachers just need to remember that bringing our colleagues along is just like what we should be doing with our kids. Everybody is at a different point on this journey, allow them to be where they are, give them the time to move at the pace they could. Things will happen. As Jason this morning has said: Sending love, not fear, be your authentic self. Don’t forget to keep coming up to different TCI trainings.
Thank you for being with us.
Now I have a favor to ask: if you are not crushed by time, please help us to put the blue folding chairs away, take down the CIMW conference information signs, straighten the classrooms and help to restore this beautiful place back, so we can foster long-lasting relationship with my school and colleagues and keep using this facility. Thank you!