Aways appreciative of PD opportunities, I have been particularly eager for ways to connect with others through virtual workshops, blog posts, Zoom meets, etc. during this heck of a year.
So I’m pretty excited about our upcoming AISL conference – but also a little trepidatious. To be honest, as incredible as the lineup is, it’s only going to be valuable to me if I have a game plan to focus as much as possible. While I appreciate virtual PD, it has proven far too easy for me to be interrupted and distracted. So here ‘s the plan –
I’ll make sure to carefully review the conference schedule in advance; with the banquet, presentations, seminars & table talks all happening in the span of just a few hours, I need to have a strategy (priorities with alternatives noted)
Being in the moment
I hereby acknowledge that taking part in virtual PD from my office is not going to happen in any meaningful way. Maybe my supervisor is supportive of me leaving school early to connect from home? Maybe there’s a corner of my library, or even better, hidden away in my school? I’ll plan to put a sign on the door, email on out-of-office, and phone on silent. I’ll also give myself ½ hour in advance to eat, fill my water bottle and take a bio break.
A few years back, disheartened by the number of conference bags sitting in the corner of my office – filled with valuable notes not looked at since the day of return – I began using travel time home to create a list of actionable items that can be implemented either short- or long-term. I’ll do the same on Apr 9th. Fewer things done is better than more things stagnated.
After the fact
While I will miss sitting around with friends (preferably by a pool with drink in hand), nothing is stopping me from reaching out and connecting virtually – so join me in reaching out to someone! I took part in a recent AISL Zoom chat and ‘met’ some people I’d love to get to know better. Here’s to checking in with people we miss and making new friends!
How do YOU prepare to make the most of your online PD?
Friendships and connections with librarians are a huge part of the value of AISL! The board has tried to plan a mix of sessions that are more formal and more conversational. We are planning for smaller groups for the table topics so members will be able to chat like they would on the bus or at dinner. We hope you’ll continue to attend the Zooms or watch the recordings.
Ahead of the conference, we’re looking for more people to introduce themselves and their libraries through the flipgrid link on the conference website. I have to admit pangs of jealousy looking through some of your fantastic spaces. Harry Potter-esque!
My administration was happy to allow me to work at home for the afternoon so I could fully be present. Even when my door is closed (which is hardly ever), it’s common for students and teachers to pop in for “just a sec.” One of the reasons we wanted to plan a free conference is because we want anyone who is interested to be able to attend.
I hadn’t thought yet about the “wrapping up.” I also use my travel time to organize my notes, email teachers with ideas, and develop short and long-term action plans. I’m going to put that on my calendar for Friday afternoon when I’m still feeling the glow from all I’ve just learned.
Finally, I hope everyone tries Shelagh’s suggestion about reaching out. We had conference day yesterday, and one of the prompts for the students was to talk about a teacher who inspired or influenced you. It then followed by asking how they had let their teacher know they had made a difference. Students responded with answers like, “I’m sure they know,” or “I can’t just say that to them.” Come on, we know it’s been a tough year! This is the time to reach out, build connections, and show appreciation to those who’ve helped.
Thanks for this post!
Christina, will we get a link to join the sessions?
Mary, the link will be sent to your email tomorrow morning.