October 9, 2016

Old Friends and New

There’s a feeling that overtakes me every year after returning home from #learning2. Learning 2, for friends of mine not in the know, is a participant driven educational conference that began nine years ago. In its inception, the conference was guided heavily by the notion that technology can help revolutionize the way we teach and learn. The idea was to bring teachers from around the Asia region together and have them share discuss and teach each other what they know about how to make schools for the twenty first century.

Throughout the years some things have changed and many things have stayed the same, and one of things that has stayed the same is the feeling one has the first night home.

I have participated with this conference in several ways through the years. I have been a: participant, Teacher Workshop Presenter, L2Leader, Speaker, organizer, L2Talk Coach, Alec Couros Fanboy and a Madeleine insult punching bag, but regardless of my role every time I come home, there is a poignant sense of sadness and hope.

Sadness because it is over. The intensity of the conference often leaves me coated in an uncontrollable adrenaline high. As a part time extrovert, my mind is left racing days after the conversations have ended. Conversations during workshops, at mission control, at socials, dinners, hotel lobbies, after talks, before talks, on the bus. To be at an event like this, you are always on. Engaged. Thinking. Acting.

Even the downtime is filled with discussions about the power of Reggio spaces or the frustration that in 2016 some people still don’t know what a blog is.

This abrupt stop to the conference can be disorienting. Because just a few hours ago, you were spinning your wheels 1000RPM a second, and now, here you are at home, alone, in the silence wondering where everyone went.

And really it is the people that make this conference so amazing. It is like a tribe, a family that gets a few people bigger every year.

There will be a new L2Leader that really inspires you, or some person you have drinks with who could be your new best friend. An old acquaintance shifts to friend to mentor to idol. You might find yourself sitting on a street side bar having a Martini, smoking sheesha and chatting with someone you have known for a few years, but never really knew well, about your dads and what their role in your life has meant to you now being a dad. It is deep meaningful stuff. Or you might spark up a chat on the bus about the intuitive appeal of Zen on your daily life.

"I'm really glad we talked," is something that can often be heard as people shake hands or hug and part ways.

This year’s conference was very reflective for me. I led a strand that was different to what I have done in the past and it really made me think. I hope to write that post another night.

This post was just to keep the ride going for a little longer. I wanted to also publicly thank Kim and Madeleine and Brandon and the rest of the organizing team for always thinking of me and finding me a place in, and a method to, connect with this experience. I am proud and honored to be involved year in and year out. This year’s conference was a blur for me, but one that I hope to deconstruct and unpack in the coming weeks, so as to be able to use the parts to shift my practice.

Old friends and new, I miss you already.

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