I was so excited today when my sister called to let me know that she has booked an apartment for us to share in Barcelona, Spain, in March. It’s been a long time since I got to visit with my sister, nephew and brother-in-law and it’s so important for not only me, but my own children to spend time with family: the people who love and support you, laugh and cry with you, inspire you to be the best version of yourself, and ultimately let you know that you matter.
I am fortunate enough to be visiting Barcelona at the invitation of Microsoft. As a member of the Microsoft Expert Educator Program I will be attending the Education Global Forum event. The Microsoft in Education Global Forum recognizes and celebrates the achievements of educators who are preparing students for life in the 21st century. Each year, the Microsoft in Education Global Forum brings together participants from more than 700 of the world’s most innovative educators, school leaders, and education leaders from 75 countries. Unbelievably, this will be my third time attending and I cannot express my gratitude enough.
The event provides me with the opportunity to participate in cutting edge professional development activities, learn about new and up and coming technologies, hear lectures from industry experts from around the globe, and study schools that are developing sustainable models for system change. Most importantly, it provides me with the opportunity to share and learn from my peers from every corner of the earth. Over the last three years I have developed relationships with teachers who inspire and teach me every day. They have become my family: the people who love and support me, laugh and cry with me, inspire me to be the best version of myself, and ultimately let me know that I matter. Being a member of the Partners in Learning family has not only transformed my teaching but also helped my students gain a deeper understanding of their role as global citizens.
Before I joined the PIL Network, it was difficult to find a classroom to reach out and connect with. Now, when my students need help or support, have questions or are curious to learn a new perspective, it is easy for me to look to my PIL family and find a classroom to visit. The world has been opened up to my students and we are able to Skype with classrooms in my PIL family on a weekly basis. Through these interactions they are learning to build creative, intuitive, trusting and collaborative relationships with others. Their communication and collaboration skills are growing exponentially and they are becoming more caring and thoughtful citizens, inspired to change the world. They are growing in their own global family.
The trip to Barcelona will be inspirational and restorative for me both personally and professionally. The time I spend with my families will sustain and uplift me for the following year, enabling me to be a better parent and teacher. I encourage all educators to join the Partners in Learning Network, to connect with people who will enrich both yours and your students’ lives. In doing so, you will become a member of very special global family.