Every aspiring instructional leader should consider the intentional tasks to implement in order to be best positioned as an instructional leader. One of these intentional tasks should certainly be speaking at education conferences.
Public speaking? These words cause anxiety for most people. But if you are an instructional leader, or want to become one, you’ll want to consider getting serious about building your confidence with speaking in front of other adults. Speaking at teacher conferences has personally helped me build my confidence in public speaking and has helped me position myself as an instructional leader.
Today I will share five reasons I believe every teacher aspiring to be a leader should speak at one conference each school year.
Share Your Expertise
By design, conferences are an opportunity for educators to learn from one another. One expectation of being an instructional leader is that you are competent and willing to share your expertise for the purpose of growing other teachers. Consider the area of teaching that is your strength and others consistently compliment you on, and develop a 60-minute workshop on how to teach that skill to other teachers. This is the foundation for preparing yourself for sharing your expertise as an instructional leader.
Build Confidence With Public Speaking
If you are like me, you may experience anxiety at the thought of speaking before your peers and colleagues. Building confidence is a key reason I believe every instructional leader, or anyone aspiring to be, should speak at a conference at least once a year. Public speaking is a task that most instructional leaders will have to do with some regularity. Whether you are delivering a professional development session to teachers or facilitating a staff meeting, you will have to be a competent public speaker. If you position yourself to speak at least one conference a year you are giving yourself multiple opportunities to build the skill of public speaking and by doing so your will confidence will increase as well.
Network with Other Thought Leaders
Leaders develop their craft by surrounding themselves with other leaders. Teachers and instructional leaders eager and hungry to learn about new trends and education are the only educators I see at conferences, and these are the leaders you want to meet and connect with. I’ve also been able to make personal connections with leaders in education whom I really respect at conferences. (I met Ron Clark at ISTE).
Stay Abreast of New Trends
Educational conferences provide a forum for thought leaders in education to present and get feedback on their latest ideas and the newest trends in education. By attending conferences you will be among the first to know about new technologies, innovations, resources, and instructional strategies in the field.
According to TheGuardian.com, almost four out of 10 teachers quit within a year of qualifying, with 11,000 leaving the profession before they have really begun their career. I think one factor contributing to this staggering statistic is teachers may lose their zeal for teaching because of the demands and stresses of the profession. There are few opportunities I have personally experienced as an instructional leader to get excited and inspired to be a great teacher and leader than attending conferences. The energy at conferences is contagious and if you are in need of a boost in morale and spirit, as instructional leaders often are, speaking at a conference will give you the boost you need.
I encourage every instructional leader to add speaking at conferences to their instructional leadership tasks. Not only will give you the opportunity to surround yourselves with the other thought leaders in education but you will find a renewed passion and excitement for teaching and leading.
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