Tie And Jeans

Obligatory Do What You Love Post #edcampisva

The first year I was “just” a math teacher I had a single desktop/CRT Dell tucked into the corner of my classroom. Between electronic gradebooks and parent emails, I spent most of my prep periods huddled over that keyboard. At some point in February, I realized that I had lost two prep periods trying to recreate a gravity-experiment in Squeak. At the time I had almost no programing experience, didn’t teach science or even know the science teachers at my school. I had just found a new toy, one captivating enough to drown out the stack of papers on my desk and make me forget the herd of 9th graders about to barge in.

That was the point where I realized that no matter what I was assigned to teach, I was still drawn to new tech and new (to me!) ideas. I realized that I needed to find a job where this hour, and all the others like it, were an essential part of work rather than an indulgence.

Today I’m at Fredericksburg Academy attending EdCamp IS-VA (#edcampisva), and I’m surrounded by people who must have had a similar moment. I keep moving between conversations that would, in isolation, be the hilight of a normal week. Everyone I’ve talked to is eager to share their plans, tools, experience and vision, all on a Saturday afternoon that’s otherwise ripe for napping.

The only other time I’ve driven this far south in VA was for a small Street Fighter tournament; an event which provides some surprising similarities to #edcampisva. Both provide a space and community for folk who constantly pokes at, play with and processes certain ideas. Here the conversations center around technology and reform, about institutional and academic structure, about encouraging authentic learning rather than option selects and character match-ups, but the communities are similar. Both groups full of manic, self-propelled learners, so passionate about their interests that they’ve learned to be cautious and circumspect in most other conversation spaces.

Almost a decade ago I had a choice to view my interests and passions as a distraction to be managed or as a pillar of my career and professional identity. After a few years feeling a bit isolated in Virginia, it’s nice to meet up with a community of other folk who made the same choice.


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5 thoughts on “Obligatory Do What You Love Post #edcampisva

  1. And we are so glad you joined us. Thanks for sharing and learning with all of us. I look forward to another great day next year. I love all the new connections I made with folks. Let’s stay in touch.

  2. So happy you came and thank you for the support! BTW…love the new look! :)

    • tieandjeans on said:

      Thank you and Susan for putting so much energy into #edcamp! The care and passion on display by everyone involved was really inspiring. I know school’s been dull for you this fall, so I’m glad you found something to occupy your copious free time. :)

      I’m apathetic about themes and aesthetic choices, which is only compounded by the fact that I read everything via RSS. But earlier this week I had an actual conversation with OakLeafWolf on a really old post and I discovered that my previous hyper-minimal theme made nested conversations almost unreadable. By the second reply it was squishing the entire comment into a 200px wide textbox.

      Changing to faux parchment has apparently fixed that, so I can go back to ignoring themes and pretending that everyone reads the web in something that looks like WordPerfect 5.1

  3. Definitely an energizing day – Always a fantastic experience to spend the day with folks who love what they do, and love to learn! I drove over 2hrs from the Newport News area – worth every gallon of gas! :)

  4. Pingback: All the Details! « edcamp IS-VA

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