I was absent from class on November 13th because I attended the Best of the Best Wyoming Teachers Conference. It was only the 2nd annual so there were not many people attending. However, there were a few things to take away from this conference.
My fiancé presented at this conference, so I might be a little bias when I say I enjoyed his presentation the most. He talked about how content planning, classroom climate, effective instruction, and accurate assessments makes the “best” better than the rest.
One thing that really stood out to me from the discussion with Tyler and his fellow staff members was the discussion of a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. This idea is not only applicable to teachers; each person needs to strive to perform at their best by growing as an individual.
A way for us teachers to do so is to collaborate and share. The best way to get information to share and collaborate on is through profession development workshops/conferences or books. I was talking to an English teacher and we were talking about our love for Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher. As our conversation came to a close, I couldn’t help but think “huh, that conversation wouldn’t have existed if we both hadn’t taken the time to read and develop our professional lives.”
I don’t know if you guys have heard of the “good corn” story, but it’s one of my favorites. It ran through my head throughout the conversations I was having with my ridiculously smart fiance and his fellow staff members.
There once was a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon.
One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.
“How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.
“Why sir,” said the farmer, “didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”
He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor’s corn also improves.
So it is with our lives. Those who choose to live in peace must help their neighbors to live in peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.
The lesson for each of us is this: if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn.