Greetings from Denver, the Mile High City! I am very excited to be in Denver for the CEC 2012 Convention & Expo. My experience so far has been very welcoming, everywhere you look are huge signs that say “Denver Welcomes CEC!” I am so excited to be a part of the largest group of special education teachers gathered anywhere–5,000 strong. It’s also great to be celebrating CEC’s 90 years of serving children and youth with exceptionalities.
I can honestly say that I have been looking forward to the 2012 CEC Convention & Expo ever since I found out I was selected to be a Reality 101 Blogger. Getting ready for Denver hasn’t been as easy and carefree as I would have hoped for. I had 15 fourth graders to prepare for my absence (one of whom is Juan, just back from his extended stay in the hospital). So with lesson plans done, and extra work available if needed, I left my classroom in the capable hands of my substitute and the teacher assistant. So far I heard there has been a surprise fire drill, which threw off my to the minute lessons plans. However, I’m just glad it was a fire drill, and that my classroom didn’t actually catch on fire in my absence.
The Opening General Session was very inspiring. It was great to hear about the roots of CEC and Elizabeth Farrell’s mission that no child was to be neglected as she founded CEC in August 1922, with 12 charter members. Listening to the achievements of the award recipients was motivating. It was great to see the accomplishments of teachers, professors, and students being recognized for their work with children with exceptionalities.
The Keynote Speaker Sir Ken Robinson, spoke about how we all have profound talents, but most people never find theirs. He believes that the educational system as a whole needs to be modeled after special education, where the education is individualized for the student. Currently, we have a very constrained curriculum, which students can’t connect with. Politicians can be obsessed with conformity; they are forgetting that everyone is unique. Sir Ken Robinson said that reform is necessary, and the key is personalization.
It also needs to be recognized that the heart of good education is quality teaching. Teaching should no longer be just a support system for testing. To conclude we were left with the message that all children have special needs, all children need education tailored to themselves–only then will they have the right conditions to grow and find their passion.
While Sir Ken Robinson message for us seems like a big task to accomplish, I know there’s no better place than the CEC 2012 Convention & Expo to get teachers motivated. I know that I am ready to start sharing his message with all of my colleagues when I get home. There’s much more motivation and great ideas to be found here in Denver. So be sure to come back and read about my and my fellow Reality 101er’s experiences and adventures as we are networking, sharing, and learning at CEC’s 2012 Convention & Expo in Denver.