It has probably been at least four years or so since I have read any books dedicated to education. It has probably been that long since I have dived into any extended research directly connected to education. I just wasn’t growing anymore as a teacher. I was just making lots of procedural changes and doing lots of new activities, but something was missing. I felt like I was in an educational bubble that I could not escape with the same ideas echoing around inside of it.
I started to read a lot of psychology books and Deepak Chopra type stuff. That’s when “I” started to change who I was outside of the classroom, and that had a huge impact on who I was as a teacher. From there I dove into all sorts of subjects and topics and made all types of connection back to my classroom. While I can’t remember all the books and topics I have researched in the last four years, I thought I might share just one book from each topic that I spent considerable time on in the last year.
Emotions: Emotions Revealed
Behavior Economics: Predictably Irrational
Non-Verbal Communication: What Every Body is Saying
Crisis Negotiation: Crisis Negotiations-Managing Critical Incidents
Pubic Speaking: Working the Room
I also started to attend Podcamps–think Edcamps for entrepreneurs and small business people. I love being able to go to a conference and not be surrounded by talk about education–it is nice to take a break once-in-awhile. Attending really makes a difference in my planning because I spend an entire day listening to what entrepreneurs and business people need and bring that back into my unit plans at school. The conference is centered around social media. As it states on the site, “this is a chance for Western Mass bloggers, business people, artists, and academics, to get together, make connections, and for everyone to learn how social media can enhance their business, cause or organization.” Each one I attend makes me seriously reflect on what I am doing with the kids. I make a lot of changes afterwards, but it also reaffirms what I am doing in class. After my first one I realized that some of the sessions that they attendees were going to could have been run by my kids–so they are in pretty good shape in many tech areas. This Saturday I am going to my first podcamp of the year–Podcamp Western Massachusetts, which looks like it will be a sell-out. Just like an education unconference, it attracts a neat blend of people…but these are people I normally would not get to hang out with and talk to in my education bubble. This is not necessarily a suit and tie affair, and it is a blend of “normal” and some very unique businesses and people. If a Podcamp comes to a city near you, I highly recommend attending. Leave your echo chamber, burst your ed-bubble, and you will find yourself making changes that no education book or conference could have led you to.