I had my last day of my 22nd year as a teacher this week, and the very next day I was in Milwaukee - presenting three different sessions and signing books during lunch at University School of Milwaukee's Summer Spark conference!
My lesson learned: Teachers have GOT to tell their stories. One person mentioned in my middle presentation on why I'm using feedback in lieu of grades, "I would think that this way would be much harder than using grades."
"Yes," I replied. "It sucks." Uneasy laughter came from the audience, until I added, "I wouldn't be doing all of this extra work if I didn't think it was totally worth it."
Sharing that teeny bit of my story - not hiding the fact that going without grades is one of the hardest things I've ever done in my career - helped other educators go back to the reasons WHY I had to change the learning in room 239.
Another tidbit I learned at Summer Spark (reserve the dates for next year - June 11-12, 2018!) - Shift This has an impact on others. I've been getting comments that prove to me that sharing my story was worth it. People are connecting with small portions of the book, along with larger ideas. Those that work in isolated bubbles are finding their tribe through others reading it and wanting to continue shifting their practice.
Keep it up, educators! Keep sharing your stories and connecting with others. This is how we build our confidence and stay motivated to do the best we can for the children in our charge!