My summer 2016 was crazy. The deadline for presenting at ITEC came and went, and I completely missed it. I felt *so* guilty. I've always felt like it's an unwritten expectation of someone in my position (AEA tech integration) to present and share expertise. And then came Bob Dillon's ignite talk. He stated, "I'll never be sorry for being a learner."
I've been incredibly lucky in that I've had supervisors/bosses that have always encouraged continued learning - you can't be at your best if you aren't staying up on current best practices, research, and new ideas. You need to invest in yourself as a learner in order to be a leader. However, it didn't really hit me until I sat down last week to reflect on my ITEC experience. I took away SO MUCH from this year's conference. I wasn't stressing about presentations or deadlines or resources. I was able to spend that time, instead, on finding sessions that really fit my needs and interests, on combing through tweets, and on bookmarking things that I wanted to come back to later. Because of that, I left with numerous new ideas and a renewed enthusiasm for implementing them with my districts - instead of how I typically feel, which is often times exhausted and relieved.
Don't get me wrong, I will definitely be submitting proposals next year, one of the ways that actually I learn best is by preparing to share with others. But because I took the time to step back and be a learner, I feel like I have new ideas to grow and share the next time around.
Don't forget to invest in yourself, and as Bob Dillon said, don't apologize for being a learner.