Who is your +1? An EdCamp Inspiration

About Matthew Barry

I've always known that my dream was to be an American history teacher and track coach, so I pursued that path when I attended the University of New Hampshire. At UNH, I was lucky enough to be a member of the Track and Field team from 2002—2005 competing in the pole vault and the sprints. I graduated with a B.A. in History in May 2005 and was then offered the job to teach 7th and 8th grade social studies here at The Davis Academy. Beginning in my third year teaching, I pursued a Master's degree at Georgia State University, graduating in 2009 with a Master's in the Arts of Teaching Social Studies. While studying for both my Bachelor's and Master's degrees. My main focus for my M.A.T. was creation of the early republic to Jacksonian democracy. As a teacher and lover of American history, my favorite eras of history are colonization, the American Revolution, the Jacksonian era, the Civil War, and the Gilded Age. In my eleventh year at the Davis Academy, I have taught both 7th and 8th grade, served as the SGA advisor, and coached both boys and girls basketball, swimming, XC and Track & Field. I find inspiration in my students and school work and I hope you as my students find the same in my classroom!
Edcamp Logo - courtesy Edcamp.org

Edcamp Logo – courtesy Edcamp.org

EdCamp Sacramento was one of the most informative and collaborative conferences I have never attended. That is correct, I said I never attended. I live in Atlanta, GA, and I did not have the luxury or knowledge about this amazing educational workshop experience. Like many teachers on Twitter, I have heard of the EdCamp experiences.  I’ve heard they are inspiring and fantastic forms of professional development.  I’ve heard one can learn from motivated and inspirational educators from as close as just around the corner to teachers that drove over 100 miles to get to the school!  I’ve been to EdCamp’s website and read about the various experiences teachers across the nation are having with each other. The EdCamp movement, yes I like to call it a movement, is simply breathtaking. Teachers all over the nation (and world at times) are meeting in schools and organizing a day of (un)structured professional development. For some, these experiences have changed their approach to teaching, while for others (myself included), the EdCamp experience has changed lives.

I have yet to attend an EdCamp, but because of a Twitter conversation, Edcamp Sacramento was one of the most inspiring events in my educational career, and reinvigorated my passion for teaching. I read a simple phrase on my Twitter feed, which at first read like a math problem: “+1”.

A woman who had attended the Sacramento EdCamp had a conversation with Stephanie Reid, a wonderful educator and woman whom I have never met before.  But I am grateful for their conversation that I was able to observe over Twitter.  The conversation started around the topic of running, and Reid shared how she is working to improve her speed. She runs with others and looks for someone who is just a little bit faster than her. She calls the person her “+1,” and she works really hard to hang with them on long trail runs. She just said it! She just said “+ 1”. That was the phrase. That one little phrase changed my entire view on education. You see, we all need a +1. A +1 is the answer, the motivation, the inspiration, and the passion-pusher in our world. We need them professionally, personally, and socially. I am obviously talking professionally in this case. I am speaking about education.

Everyone should have a +1 in all areas of life. Think about how many times you have been pushed at a practice, in a competition, to study harder for a test, to do a better job at work, or to help out a friend a little more in an extra way. How many people have you met in your life that truly inspire you to be who you are, and how to be a better person? Do you need to meet this person, or can they be someone you’ve stumbled upon in social media or through a friend? How does this person serve as your +1?

I think about all the +1’s I’ve met on Twitter, at educational conventions, and even at other social gatherings. Our +1’s are those who make a difference in our life. They instill that little something “extra” we need and yearn for that enables us to be the best we can be!. A +1 is someone who pushes you to be the best you can. Your +1 could be a friend, a mentor, a colleague, or simply someone you admire who either intentionally or unknowingly gives you a nudge to be a better professional. Your +1 knows you. They know your greatness, and they push you past that greatness so you can do things you never imagined…

So, who’s your “+1?”

Thank you Edcamp Sacramento for sharing your thoughts and allowing us to give it our own meaning and then pass our thoughts on!

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By | 2016-11-01T14:11:58+00:00 September 9th, 2014|Featured, Opinion|0 Comments

About the Author:

I've always known that my dream was to be an American history teacher and track coach, so I pursued that path when I attended the University of New Hampshire. At UNH, I was lucky enough to be a member of the Track and Field team from 2002—2005 competing in the pole vault and the sprints. I graduated with a B.A. in History in May 2005 and was then offered the job to teach 7th and 8th grade social studies here at The Davis Academy. Beginning in my third year teaching, I pursued a Master's degree at Georgia State University, graduating in 2009 with a Master's in the Arts of Teaching Social Studies. While studying for both my Bachelor's and Master's degrees. My main focus for my M.A.T. was creation of the early republic to Jacksonian democracy. As a teacher and lover of American history, my favorite eras of history are colonization, the American Revolution, the Jacksonian era, the Civil War, and the Gilded Age. In my eleventh year at the Davis Academy, I have taught both 7th and 8th grade, served as the SGA advisor, and coached both boys and girls basketball, swimming, XC and Track & Field. I find inspiration in my students and school work and I hope you as my students find the same in my classroom!

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