Ideas Worth Sharing


Teachers sit through hours and hours of professional learning, but none were quite like this past weekend’s TEDx Birmingham where I had the privilege of being one of their Educator Fellows. For me, and I believe to be true of others who attended, what transpired on Saturday was professional learning for the soul.

I made a conscious decision not to take notes during the day and just to drink it all in like a cold, tall glass of lemonade on a hot Alabama day. So I don’t have a lot of quotes to share but thoughts, encouragements, and ideas which will continue to shape me and  Birmingham.

The first thing that one notices at a TED event is the people who are there are passionate about what they do. These are not just punching in time card workers, but employees who believe they can make a difference through their job and their lives. Being around people like this gives me even more energy and passion for my job. What would our world be like if employees viewed their job as a place to leave their mark on the world as opposed to a place to pick up a paycheck?

I love that TED conferences cover a variety of subjects; TEDx Birmingham included talks about food, education, cyber crime, art, saving the Lyric theatre, bravery, storytelling, arts education, and a mini-concert by a 12 year old cellist. We often become so isolated in our field and interests that we shut out what others are saying, and sadly, we miss out. I am guilty of being in my bubble of educators and miss out on what artists, engineers, baristas,  health care professionals, attorneys, burrito makers, and so many others have to say; it’s time we listen to people who are not like us and learn from them.

My memories of the day –

Jordan Reeves saying, “It’s not about leaving Alabama . . . it’s about leaving your old way of thinking. . . . It’s time to start hating prejudice no matter where it lives.”

Pat Hymel was transparent enough to share how making mistakes and learning from them make us better. Props to him for being so real.

Jan Mattingly making water disappear and imploring educators to reframe learning and ignite a spark of interest in students. We are competing with a media driven world; boring lectures just don’t cut it in the classroom anymore.

Laura Kate Whitney saying, “In Birmingham, we give a damn.” I wish more people did.

Jen Barnett asking herself before she does something what is the worst thing that could happen to her if she fails – be embarrassed, go to jail. It’s time to be brave and not be afraid of failure.

Victoria Hollis who nailed it by saying a city will never be great if the public school system is continually ignored. Today’s students are tomorrow’s citizens; we cannot ignore them.

Chris Hastings claiming and food (poor health from poor food choices and hunger) is the problem and food (sustainable gardening) is the solution.

Theresa Bruno sharing a story about a small boy playing the piano with the master whispering to him “don’t stop.” Don’t stop pursuing the arts and making them a priority; the arts are our legacy.

Malik Kofi mesmerizing all with his music and his believe that everyone can inspire someone. I can’t wait to see him continue making his mark on the world.

So my challenge to you, to all of us, is to get outside your bubble. Share your ideas. Ask questions and listen to others who are different from you. We need and can learn from each other.

Who can you learn from this week?

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