I am waiting for my flight out of Nashville after attending the CEC 2010 Convention & Expo. I have a couple of hours here to sort out my many experiences. I will try not to use the world "wow" too many times, but seriously, WOW!
First of all, it is big. There were more than 6,000 people in attendance. The sessions were so numerous, there is no way I could go to everything that sounded interesting. It took me three separate visits to the Expo Hall to cover all the booths.
Then there was the venue, the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center…..WOW! (sorry, I couldn't help myself). It has more than 4,000 rooms, many restaurants, shops, a river running through it, tropical plants, waterfalls, and a conservatory. The venue was a bit tough on us directionally challenged folks, but I spent much of the time happily lost in the beautiful spaces.
The best thing about the CEC convention, however, was the people. I went alone and knew no one who was attending. It started at the Detroit Metro Airport, where I met Sarah, who was also going to the convention for the first time. We chatted and exchanged phone numbers promising to meet for a meal together; we ended up meeting for several. On the plane the women seated next to me was also going to the convention as a representative of the Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company. We discussed the interesting career path she has taken from teacher to the publishing world. I love to write, as you all know, so I picked her brain about the publishing world.
I had too many conversations to tell you about all of them. I learned about others' jobs, what a variety the special education field has to offer. I learned we are all in this together, learning, laughing, struggling, celebrating the world of children with exceptionalities. WOW!