KTI: Finding Your Tribe

Have you ever entered a professional development session through a tunnel of enthusiastic educators, who are cheering you on, give you ALL the high-fives and make you feel like a ROCKSTAR? Yeah, I hadn’t either until my experience at KTI.

KTI is like nothing else, and to be honest I was a bit hesitant to go! I was nominated by my principal, and felt like it was an honor to be accepted into the “tribe” but I was really nervous! Would I know anyone? Would I learn things that mattered for my first graders? Would I have the skill to keep up with the new technology that I would discover? Well, the MOMENT I stepped foot on Shippensburg University and met all of the amazing lead learners, my fears went out the window.

The very first night, I met a group of pals that would soon become my tribe. We all connected over one of our favorite movies, “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” and had a delicious meal together. Each speaker that night would inspire me even more than the last. I knew I was in for a treat!

The experience was a week long and while I could sit here and type out every amazing detail (because TRULY there was so much goodness!) I will try to break it down into the 3 best things that happened for me at KTI.

  1. I found a tribe.

I know I keep using this word, “tribe” but the word holds a lot of meaning for me, especially after my time at KTI.  As educators, there are moments when we can feel pretty isolated. We are alone in a classroom of littles all day, and even though I love to collaborate there are always moments when you feel like you are climbing Mt. Everest all by yourself. Meeting all of the amazing folks at KTI helped me learn that this just isn’t the case. I met people who I can share ideas with, make mistakes with, and be inspired by! Just this year in my classroom, we were granted a new STEM tool called Keva Planks and I was a bit stuck on where to get started so I reached out to one of the lead learners that I met at KTI Ryan Berger, who shared on Twitter some of the ways he was using the planks in his classroom. The connections that you make at KTI will last a lifetime and you will never feel alone again. (If you want to use Keva Planks, I have some cool ideas thanks to my people so hit me up!)

2.   I experienced something new in a meaningful way.  

I don’t know about you, but in our district we are always learning about new technology and while I LOVE learning about new things, it can feel overwhelming. The way I learned at KTI did not feel overwhelming at all! I was able to choose breakouts that were meaningful for me, and was able to do tons of hands-on learning. I gained a better grasp on tools like Beebots, and Ozobots, as well as things like Google Chrome and how to use extensions! The learning was ALL applicable to my classroom and I was gifted with plenty of time to try things out rather than just hear about them.  I even got to build an ant robot that moved on its own! I felt like a real rockstar! Your self confidence will truly soar after spending time at KTI.

3. I got my spark back.

I am a young(ish) teacher. I have only been at this for about 7 years and yet I was starting to feel the numbness that can occur when you just go through the motions. This week of learning not only helped me to try new things in my classroom but it reminded me why I chose to be a teacher in the first place. I was ON FIRE after my time at KTI. I just felt an overwhelming gratitude to my principal for gifting me with this experience and also to the lead learners and guest speakers who helped me become better, and to all of my new friends for making me smile and laugh more times than I could count!

If KTI is an option for you, please say yes. You will walk away with LOTS OF SWAG, lots of new friends, prizes from the prize patrol, new skills and ideas to try in your classroom, and just a new passion for the work you are doing in your classroom! You may even get to have a sing along with 100 of your {new} closest friends! Special thank you to PAECT for making it all happen and especially Scott Snyder!

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