Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Blessing of Conferring

This week I had the pleasure of presenting at a conference held at Redeemer University College. It was the biennial conference of the International Christian Community for Teacher Education. This is a pretty amazing group of educators from across North America, and beyond, and I'm proud to now be counted among their membership: dedicated Christian educators seeking to shape the next generation of Christian teachers.

I had quite a time getting to the conference. My flight left 14 hours later than it should have. I was stranded overnight in Chicago on my way to Toronto. I finally arrived at Redeemer about 30 minutes before I was scheduled to begin presenting. I found my room, got settled in, and was immediately at peace. The warm welcome of these colleagues in Christian education set my mind and heart at ease.

I presented a paper on developing technology integration skills in our preservice teachers, which is a topic near and dear to my heart. After my presentation, those gathered had the chance to raise questions and offer their ideas in response. I had some gentle push-back from a few of my new friends, as well as affirmation of some of my ideas. I'm hoping to get the paper published, and the feedback--both positive and negative--are going to make the paper stronger.

Throughout the conference I connected with fellow educators. They shared their stories and asked me to share mine. It was a blessing to find that we have so much in common, so many of the same issues, challenges, and joys. I gleaned some fantastic ideas that are going to shape my own teaching practice in higher education, and I have a few things I want to discuss with my colleagues when I'm back on campus.

I recognize that I am becoming an academic. This is a strange realization for me...but not unwelcome. I love to research and write and share what I'm learning. I love to learn, to think, to encounter new ideas, to have conversations.

This meeting affirmed it for me: conferring with colleagues from across the globe is a blessing.

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