Teacher Pay Teachers Flock Meet-up 2017
Let’s work backwards for this project because, frankly, I’ve kept it a secret long enough that there is no more reason to try and build suspense in this post!
On April 8, 2017, I had the great honor and privilege of presenting the keynote address at the #TpTFlock17 meet-up in Rochester, NY and creating a collaboration mural with over 200 teacher-authors (TpT’ers). To summarize this project I’ll quote Tricia’s Terrific Teaching Trinkets:
Our keynote address was by Jenny Knappenberger of “Art with Jenny K.” who specializes in art-infused learning resources and promoting the importance of creativity in the learning process. Jenny’s presentation was both inspirational and motivational, but best of all it was hands-on and interactive!
Jenny led us in making a large mosaic piece of art boldly featuring TPT’s Amy, Adam, and Paul and which showcased the importance of us as individuals as well as demonstrating the great things that we can achieve collectively when we flock together.
The day was full of social media posts and tags shared by fellow TpT’ers. We used the hashtag #TpTFlock17 on Instagram to share with one another – you can check it out too and see so many great photos of the day. Like these…
“The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
I opened my keynote address with this quote from Steve Jobs. The first “crazy” people I talked about were – you guessed it – the teacher authors themselves at this event. I know it’s not what you’d think for a keynote – for the speaker to start off calling everyone crazy, but I think when it’s related to changing the world (as educators) it’s okay! They were pretty nice about it. 🙂
Then I talked about how Paul Edelman (the founder of TpT) was crazy enough to believe in changing the world and that is why he set out to create Teachers Pay Teachers over 10 years ago. He saw something special between the way teachers collaborate and share with each other and he created a platform for us to do just that. I imagine 10 years later he believes in us as educators (and movers and shakers) more now then ever!
Then I shifted to talking about our importance in the community of education and how we, as teacher authors, are a part of the collaboration that goes on between students and teachers. This is an awesome opportunity to do good things in the world – but it’s also a responsibility that we need all take very seriously.
However, often simple messages are the hardest to get people to believe – they sound too cliché. I didn’t want to just stand up in front of everyone and TELL them they were important – I wanted to show them.
So without telling anyone WHAT we were making (I heard someone say they thought we were creating a bird since the theme is “flock”) each person was given a white envelope with a variety of instructions and supplies in it.
Each person created their original artwork while staying within the confines I had laid out for them. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves!
I ended presentation with this quote from Henry Ford. “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.”
I said adios and while everyone went to attend sessions I took the 200 + pieces into a conference room where Mary Beth Nerone (of Brain Waves Instruction), her super helpful husband, Mike, and I started assembling the poster. No small task as this took all three of us until lunch to complete.
We sneaked the final poster upstairs and left it in my room – safe and sound to reveal at the close of the day.
Finding Your Niche on TPT Session
I enjoyed the rest of the day attending a few sessions and leading my “Finding your Niche on TpT” session.
The Big Reveal
Then the big moment came … as Amy Borell Berner made her final closing comments for the day, Mary Beth and I walked to the front with the poster in hand. I think you can tell from our smiles we are pretty excited..
Thanks to Debbie Crocket (a fellow Arizona TpT’er and a friend) I can show you exactly how the reveal went…
This was a surreal moment for me. To see everyone as they approached the artwork – THEIR artwork and take pictures and look for their own piece was truly a highlight of this project for me.
There is an energy that art and collaboration creates and we were all sitting in a room full of that energy at that moment – time froze for just a split second and I just enjoyed the happiness we had all created together and the appreciation we all shared to be part of something so important. I’ve experienced this time and time again with my students but never with 200 adults – my colleagues – it was a gift to me. After the reveal – and our moment to enjoy what we had created I made my final comments.
If we take one piece out of the poster it is not whole. Everyone matters.”
I fought back tears as I looked at my friends and colleagues and saw tears in their eyes. I realized that they understood what I was trying to say – that I was trying to show them how important they all are – their faces told me that they got it!
Getting to have Amy there was just something I can’t put into words – she is one-of-a-kind and this was just the sort of love she deserves. I was like a kid waiting for Christmas until she (and everyone else) got to see what we had made!
A Little Behind the Scenes
An idea – born months prior while collaborating from over 2,000 miles away on the phone with Mary Beth – turned out to be better then my wildest dreams. The success stemmed directly from the amazing educators that TpT is made up of – teachers who give of themselves constantly to help other educators and their students. A group I’m so proud to be a part of. These shots are of some of the behind-the-scene prep work I was doing while getting ready for this event.
Thank You Flock Planning Team!
The planning team that puts this meet-up together every year deserves major thanks. They give of their own time and resources to make this happen for all those who attend. I’m so grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to share my keynote message and believing in me while I made art with the 200 participants!
My best wishes for their continued success in all their future events.
Thanks for reading and for making art!