Last week, I traveled to Las Vegas to present at the National iTeach 2nd conference with SDE. If you have not been to a professional development event hosted by SDE before, you need to talk to your administrator NOW and say I want to go!!! It was one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had and I'm so excited to share my adventure with you!
It all started last October when I got an e-mail from someone at SDE saying that they read this little blog of mine and wanted to know if I'd be interested in presenting at the first iTeach 2nd conference this summer. After talking it over with family and friends and lots and lots of praying, I said one of the scariest "YESES" in my life! Why was is scary? This was something that I had never dreamed of doing. It was honestly never something I had ever even thought of. Looking back on it now, it was one of the best YESES I've ever said (next to yes, I will marry you, I do, etc...) After talking back and forth with a representative, we decided that I would be presenting over academic vocabulary.
Then, in January my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child. A prayer that we had been praying for for so long. A few days after receiving the BEST news, it hit me that I might not be able to present at iTeach 2nd. Honestly, I was heartbroken. I counted up the weeks and realized that I would be 7 months pregnant while I was there and that brought on all sorts of worries. Will my doctor even let me travel that far? Can I travel alone? Is it safe to be that far away? What will SDE think? Will they be supportive? I had a slight break down. A few weeks later I was able to talk to my doctor and he said that I would be able to travel but after that, NO MORE! I was so thankful for this news. I then e-mailed my rep with SDE to share our news and they could not have been more supportive!
Over the past several months I've slowly been prepping for the big event and trying to pick out the perfect activities to talk about. School let out at the end of May and I was ready to go. I knew that June would be crazy busy with baby showers and such. Then, the big day finally came. I have to give a big shout out to this guy. He helped me get everything together, edit my presentation, and listened to me practice over and over. I couldn't have done it with him and his support. #BestHusbandEver We snapped a selfie as he dropped me off at the airport. He was unable to come with me due to his job but he was there with me every step of the way!
After arriving in Vegas on Sunday, I got checked into my hotel room and went to get my presenter packet. My nerves were doing ok up until I saw the room I was presenting in. It was HUGE!!! Of course, I knew how many people were registered for my session and knew that I wouldn't fill it up but still...the size of it was intimidating.
Isn't the Venetian BEAUTIFUL?!?
Isn't the Venetian BEAUTIFUL?!?
Monday was the BIG DAY! I was going to present for SDE! Me! This small town girl from Texas. Who would have ever thought? That morning I was a nervous wreck. My presentation wasn't until 3:00 that afternoon. To keep my mind occupied, I attended some morning sessions and got a feel for what that afternoon would be like. There I met some AMAZING ladies who I've followed for a long time. Allison from Stuckey in Second and Stephanie from Midnight in 2nd Grade. I just want to say that I could not have done it without these ladies. They helped keep me calm all morning. They even showed up early to my session to help me set up. I was so grateful since I only had 30 minutes to get everything together.
Allison, Me, Stephanie
My favorite Texas gals also showed up to support me at my session as well and also helped me set up before. The ladies from All Ya'll Need are the sweetest! Lisa and Amy have always been big supporters of my adventure and I could not be more grateful for them. Lisa (on the left) and I actually went to college at Texas Tech together. Wreck 'Em! All of the ladies I mentioned helped pass out handouts, set up my activities, and stayed late to help me pack up. #ThankfulTeacher
Then the big moment came! I'm not going to lie, the first few minutes I was probably the most nervous I've ever been in my life. Then I realized that people were actually listening to what I had to say, my nerves calmed down, and I got into my groove! Here are few snap shots from my session. A big thanks to Lisa for the photos!
67 smiling people attended my session. I spoke about the importance of using academic vocabulary in the classroom and shared resources I use in my classroom as tools to teach it effectively. Then, I shared how I introduce vocabulary each week and demonstrated 4 games to help increase vocabulary success!
Afterwards, I was on the biggest high! I was so proud of myself and what I had just accomplished. I had several people come up to me and say that I did a great job and answered several questions.
Madison (my sweet baby girl) was with me every step of the way. She was kicking away the whole time. At one point, my name tag started flopping around. She was her mommy's number one supporter. My husband and I have decided that she is destined to be a teacher because she was so active during the entire conference. That makes me happy!
That night all of my fabulous support group from that day celebrated with me at dinner! We laughed and chatted for several hours. It was the perfect end to the best day! Thank you ladies for all of you support and getting me through the day. I couldn't have done it without you!
Lisa (All Ya'll Need), Abbie (Tales from the First Grade Teacher), Allison (Stuckey in Second), Linda and Michelle (Kinderbrations), Stephanie (Midnight in 2nd Grade), Amy (All Ya'll Need), Me
What did I learn from this experience...it is OK to step out of your comfort zone. It is OK to take risks. The reward makes it all worth it. I can now say that I presented for SDE at their NATIONAL conference! I survived! I didn't forget to talk about anything. I didn't fall off my stage. I...DID...IT!!!
*I do not look 7 months pregnant in this photo. #ifeelhuge
If you attended my session and came up to me at any point throughout the week, THANK YOU! Not only did you help build my confidence, you helped me step out of my bubble to take more risks!
I've been invited to present at the SDE 2nd & 3rd grade conference in Texas next January. There I will be presenting 2 sessions and can't wait to share more details with you as time gets closer.
If you missed my session you can read this blog post to give you a little bit of an idea of what I talked about.
Thanks again to everyone and their support throughout this journey. I couldn't do it without you and I can't wait to see what the future brings!