Right before takeoff, flight attendants always remind us, “In case of an emergency, please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.” It sounds easy, right? Yet, I am a teacher, and like so many other teachers and school leaders, we often overlook the meaning behind this basic instruction.
It’s simple. Our goal is to help others. In our case, our students. Our goal is to guide others to safety – to bring others to their desired destination of success and understanding, all while providing as much “oxygen” as possible. Our definition of success is based on the impact we have on those we’re teaching. If they fail, we fail – when they win, we win. However, being caught in the throes of a world-shaking pandemic, should we strive to get back to normal – to maintain our old ways of leading and breathing, or push forward and realize back may not be a good place to go? In fact, could “back”be the barrier of change?
Everyone feels the social and emotional impact of the pandemic. Students are negatively influenced by the stress their households, teachers, and school leaders are experiencing. In addition, the restrictions and roadblocks of a “new normal” prevent the familiar learning environment known to all. Living in a state of limbo, where new levels of unknowns are created, can cause mental health issues that affect the state of learning in the classroom. On October 17, 2022, The EdExcellence Conference will be held in Fayetteville to help address these concerns.
This conference for educators is a unique opportunity to be surrounded by changemakers who will facilitate much-needed conversations. Through “Re-energizing Education: Supporting the Well-being of Students, Teachers and Leaders” (the conference theme), a fresh network of educators supporting each other may be born here in Cumberland County.
Keynote speaker Dr. Donetrus G. Hill, a public school principal, international consultant and author, along with over 25 workshop presenters, will offer local educators world-class content, networking opportunities, continuing education units and professional development resources. All of this is happening right in our backyard. Specialists and experts from across the country and other parts of the globe are coming together in Fayetteville to support and encourage educators in Cumberland County and the surrounding region.
A conference of this caliber is a remarkable opportunity for local educators and school leaders, whether they work in public, charter, private or faith-based schools. Moreover, due to the many sponsors, including the Global School Consulting Group, Abeka, BJU Press, the SchoolRIGHT Group and more, this conference is offered at an affordable price, in the hopes of placing low monetary restrictions on the very educators the conference is intended to benefit.
Through this conference, the organizers hope that participants will be “re-energized.” A new level of hope may be reached by banding together as student/teacher/leader engagement has limitless potential. Change starts somewhere. The EdExcellence Conference may be the launching point for the change needed. The conference is designed to challenge educators’ thinking and turn questions from “How can I improve my teaching strategy?” to “How do I get to a better place?” By addressing the social and emotional issues the pandemic has elevated and working together for change, teachers and school leaders just may create a future full of empowerment and engagement.
For more information about the conference, visit www.EdExcellence.info. The website includes biographical information on the keynote speaker and workshop presenters, workshop descriptions, day schedule, sponsor/vendor information, registration details and more. I look forward to experiencing the day with other educators from around the region, as together we pursue excellence, re-energizing education by supporting the well-being of students, teachers, and leaders.
Allison Paniccia is a High School English Teacher at the Village Christian Academy. After earning a master’s degree in English from Trinity College, becoming a teacher fulfilled a lifelong dream. She has been an educator for over 10 years and enjoys finding new ways to energize herself, and her students, in the classroom.