I just arrived home from the SHAPE America Conference. This was my first national SHAPE conference and it did not disappoint! This blog is going to reflect solely on the relationships that were formed or continued. It doesn’t matter if you are socially connected or not. When you are at any conference with passionate educators you will create bonds. There is an automatic common interest that allows conversations to start. Education conferences are more than just people with common interests, though. Educators live education. We think about it in our free time. It shapes our thoughts and language. It challenges us in all aspects of our life. That is why when educators get together bonds are formed so quickly. We share the same values. That allows us to go much deeper than hello we do the same job so we can engage in innocuous conversation.
Teachers are also used to forming bonds and relationships with people. This is a skill like any other. The more you do it the better you get at it. When empathetic people meet they are already open to communicating at a more powerful level. We have all the skills that come with forming relationships. When two parties are able to really talk and listen it should be no wonder we walk away with emotional connections to others.
This makes sense when we look at our lives from the spiritual dimension of wellness. I teach my students we are all connected. My purpose in life is to make a positive impact on the world around me. This can only happen if I am willing to engage with others. My mission can not be achieved by myself. As teachers, I would guess that most of us feel that same passion to make the world a better place. When like-minded people who are empathetic and great communicators congregate it should surprise no one that long lasting friendships are created. This is the reason that I feel a sense of sadness leaving this conference.
This conference has not only allowed me to connect with new brilliant minds in the field of education it allowed me to continue the relationships that I have made previously. Some of those relationships blossomed at conferences while others started on social media. Either way, I walked into this conference with a comfort level of someone going to a family reunion. We may not have hung out in the same physical space over the past but we have kept in contact with each other. That contact allows an instant sense of familiarity. As Andy Milne says, Handshakes turn into hugs.”
Those social media friendships were taken to a deeper level. We created shared experiences that allow friendships to grow. There are too many people that this occurred with for me to name drop in this blog. I will state that living with Andy Milne for four days was the most pleasant of experiences. I have the utmost respect for him. Being in his presence morning noon and night only deepened that. I had the pleasure to present with him and was in awe of his timing and control of the room. It isn’t easy to make me look good!
One last relationship reflection was about my PaddleZlam crew. Paddle Zlam is an active game that was played by a multitude of people at the convention. It reminded me why we are teaching our students to be physically competent humans. Games are fun. Moving games are even more fun! We played for hours and burned tons of calories simply because we were enjoying ourselves. We didn’t care about proper form, the force we were moving with (except for Dave Gusitsch), or which muscle group was being activated. We cared about playing. We enjoyed the game because we were confident enough to step up and play. Some of us were competent enough to be super successful (Craig Kemmlein)! We need to keep that thought in our head that socialization is a key to moving. Playing Paddle Zlam is where I created the most powerful connections of the convention. I thank you all for sharing your time with me.
That is all for now. I will write some more about my takeaways that I will be able to implement in my classroom soon.