One of the reason I swore I would never get a Masters is that I have had entirely too many educational experiences in which I felt I was simply jumping through hoops to earn a piece of paper. So, when one of the first year students here in Galway asked me this evening, “What do I need to do to be prepared for this experience next year?” my response was that he should make sure to choose a topic he was passionate about. This thing was WORK! However, when you are doing something you believe in, the work doesn’t ever feel like wasted effort. Coming into the presentation today, knowing that I had a product that I worked hard for and believed in, made the presenting part seem like a walk in the park.
I also have a slight advantage here. I have presented at and helped organize conferences before, so once I knew the work on the project was put in, I wasn’t particularly nervous about presenting. However, I did feel a great sense of pride in my classmates and our group as a whole. In my last blog post I wrote about the research to practice project as a journey. One of the best things about this process is that though we were working on individual topics, we were never in it alone. I felt incredibly supported by all the people in the program, but none more than my fellow year 2s. The amount of pride and work everyone put into their projects is what made today so great.
I am especially happy with the bond that developed with my fellow room presenter. While I wanted everyone’s project to go well, I became especially connected to Rachelle’s presentation. We were there for each other and I became invested in her success just as much as my own. It was a very cool experience to see both of our sessions get Tweeted and ReTweeted!
As part of the TeachMeet team my duties did not end when my presentation was over. I originally joined the TeachMeet team because I would really like to host an EdCamp back home. After going through this experience with my group-mates I feel better prepared to take on the uncertainty of an Unconference of my own. The session I was in, about Instructional Coaching, was very rewarding. I learned a lot from the other participants and appreciated the opportunity to share my experiences with them.
In final reflection of the day, I have to note, it’s probably not a good thing to cry right before you head to your presentation. Yet, that is the space I found myself in listening to the incredibly moving comments by our welcome speaker, Stephen Howell. I was incredibly touched by his sentiment that everyone in that room could have a drastic impact on the world. It echoed the feeling I had the day before about my fellow classmates, that each one of these individuals is unique, powerful and equipped to make real change happen in education. Stephen’s words, that each one of us, myself included, can go out and make a real difference in this world are something I will try to carry with me after I leave Ireland.