I Need My Middle Level Conferences!

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I need my middle level conferences.

I know that funding is tight and might rule out being able to attend.
But I need my middle level conferences.

And I know it’s hard to be away from your classroom and the school.
But I need my middle level conferences.

I need them because they feed me.

Most of you know about the MAMLE conference at Sugarloaf each October – this is certainly one of my favorite places to learn and to network with friends. But I’m always surprised at how many Sugarloaf conference attendees aren’t familiar with the NMSA/Association for Middle Level Education, or with that amazing conference.

(Yes, NMSA recently updated their name to Association for Middle Level Education, to better reflect their global, not simply national, mission and that they work with any school that works with middle graders, not just “middle schools.”)

This year’s national conference is in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 10-12, and promises to be just as amazing as previous years. Henry Winkler is one of the keynoters, and there are fabulous featured sessions on everything from student motivation to technology to dropout prevention to literacy to differentiated instruction, and more! There are also hundreds of breakout sessions on nearly any topic you might find helpful, the the Exhibit Hall is full of vendors with interesting and helpful products (as well as freebies!). But mostly there are thousands of amazing middle level educators from all over the country just dying to connect and to share and to collaborate.

I don’t know about you, but by this time of the year, I have initiatives I’m working on, challenges I’m facing, and ideas I want to share. And by attending middle level conferences, I can hear keynotes that inspire me, and attend sessions that answer my questions, and give me more good ideas, and address my challenges.

But for me, the most important aspect of attending middle level conferences is networking. My best work in school comes from the ideas I’ve shared with, talked over with, or “stolen” from colleagues. And other than some communication through email, twitter, and Facebook, conferences are primarily where I get to see, visit with, and talk to (face-to-face!) my colleagues. Conferences are where I can find out what my professional friends are up to. What are their initiatives, successes, and challenges? How are they doing? What tidbits can I take away from their experience? What tidbits can I share from my own? Where are our potential points of collaboration? What are their new best books or resources or contacts to share?

And this is is how I am best fed professionally.

It’s your turn: How are you fed professionally? Why do you need to attend your middle level conferences?

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One Response to “I Need My Middle Level Conferences!”

  1. Conferences Feed Me « NMSA2011 Conference Connections Says:

    […] I need them so badly, that I wrote about it recently for Maine’s Bright Futures blog. […]

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