Be The Power And The Point is a workshop I offered at the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference in Nashville, TN, Nov. 28-Dec. 1, 2018. It was specifically aimed at and designed for educators of color.
There’s a powerful handout that belongs to the workshop I gave but I’m not sure that everyone who wanted to see it, got it.
So here it is. No excuses for not putting these ideas to good use. See you on the podium, friends!
Be The Power And The Point
Why You Need To Present At Your Next Conference
American International School Vienna
At NAIS PoCC Nashville 2018
I am offering this workshop in the hopes that more educators of color will take up the charge to present at an education conference in the near future. I am working from the following premise:
Educators of color are valuable, important members of the education community in the US and abroad. Offering workshops, speaking at conferences and joining the leadership ranks of national and regional organizations are wonderful opportunities for all educators and in particular for educators of color to boost our visibility in the field while enhancing our profiles as individuals.
I see the benefits of increasing our conference visibility as follows:
We grow our individual capacities as professionals when we put ourselves ‘out there’ and share what we know.
We grow as members of a larger community. When we connect with fellow educators of color and white accomplices, we can also ensure that our subject area organizations recognize and value our contributions.
We improve the whole field of education by showing up, speaking up, demonstrating our brilliance and commitment and building inclusive, forward-thinking organizations. And not only in the area of “Diversity”!
GOALS FOR OUR TIME TOGETHER
When you leave this workshop, I hope that you will…
- See the need for your presenter presence at conferences that I see
- Consider how you will contribute your expertise in your field
- Consider where and with whom you will share your expertise
- Write down an intention related to your next steps.
Introduction – Defining our purpose
Four Reflection Questions
- Given your experience, special interests and variety of strengths, what would would be your dream workshop or presentation to offer others?
- Describe your last public professional learning event. How did you share your knowledge and expertise with colleagues?
- For your future workshop/presentation/panel, where will you find your audience? Who can support you in your pursuit?
- What are some barriers to presenting at or attending conferences? What kinds of support would you welcome?
Formulate an intention – Tell us about your next steps, write it down.
Conclusion and celebration
POINTS OF EMPHASIS
- Recognize the expertise and value you bring to your field of practice. You have knowledge and experience to contribute that can be beneficial to others.
- Be open to collaboration. You don’t have to do any of this alone! Find colleagues, create a panel, have a proposal-writing party, coach each other, partner up!
- Consider who can support you throughout the process: team colleagues? Administrators? Online colleagues and friends? Local, regional and national subject area organizations? Resources abound. Tap into them!
- Select topics and themes that move you! If diversity and inclusion are not your thing, feel no obligation whatsoever to fill a slot because someone else believes those themes should or might be in your wheelhouse (by default).
- During your session planning consider how best to tap into your participants’ expertise and interests. Never feel like you need to be the smartest person in the room. Get your participants talking, sharing and practicing. They will thank you.
- If public speaking isn’t your thing or even if it is, another contribution you can make is to become active in local and regional subject area organizations. Use those opportunities to shape conference and other programming priorities. Specifically, it may involve the chance to recommend speakers and presenters.
This workshop is designed to be about you and it’s called a workshop because we are all going to work. Rather than pour on a bunch of statistics, case studies and personal stories to illustrate EOC’s underrepresentation in various education spaces, I’ve decided to invest our time in hearing each other.
I do not have any hard and fast rules to tout; no 5, 8 or 12 steps for creating successful workshop proposals. Rather, I have a deep interest in pointing to resources, in serving as a sounding board, in being the voice of confidence when your gremlins get loud. I also have a lot of workshop design and delivery experience which has worked well for me in a variety of contexts. Hit me up (firstname.lastname@example.org), I’ll be happy to share more details.
The major benefit of gathering in conference spaces like this one is physical proximity. We are together, hearing and seeing each other and we need to run with it! So it is my choice to ensure that we are in dialogue, rather than me talking at you. At the end of this document, I have a few resources which may be of interest and support as you begin to identify where you may decide to sow your presentation seeds.
Decide what’s important to you. Talk to people. Share your ideas. Ask lots of questions. Join forces with your heroes, mentors and supporters. Be nervous and proceed anyway. You have knowledge and experiences that are unique and valuable. Sharing those with the rest of us is an all-round win. Proposal submission deadlines may be months in advance of the event. Don’t let that deter you. Submit a few proposals and see what happens. What you have to say matters. We’re ready to hear your voice.
- Upcoming conference database – A bit of a mixed bag but has links to some of the major subject area gatherings
- EdCamp.org provides all you need to know about this participatory form of professional learning which can offer excellent entry points for first and seasoned presenters.
- National Science Teachers Conferences
- National Social Studies Teachers Conference
- National Council of Math Teachers
- National Council of Teachers of English
- National Art Education Association
- SHAPE (Health & PE org)
- Early Childhood Educators
- National Association of Special Education Teachers
- International Society for Technology in Education
- Social media contacts can be excellent sources of info about conferences and how they work.
- If you are curious about my work – I have written about workshops and conferences here, here, and here.
I am deeply indebted to three Twitter colleagues and dear friends who shared their experiences with me in preparation for this session. Shout out supreme to Knikole Taylor, Julia Torres, and Marian Dingle! All three are active in their regional and national subject area organizations (Ed tech, Language Arts, and math) and emphasized the leverage they can exercise in shaping the conference agenda in their respective roles. So keep thinking about that, too!