Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Busy, Busier, Busiest

For anyone who might ever wonder about my schedule in the summer time, let me just say, it is busy. I feel like I have been on the go pretty much non-stop since my last post in mid-June. Even as I write this message on my new iPad, I am sitting in the Boston airport (Logan) waiting to go home from a five day conference for state leaders from around the country. We started off Friday afternoon with a General Session that included NEA President, Dennis Van Roekel, Vice President, Lily Eskelson, and Secretary-Treasurer, Becky Pringle. The topic of that session was "what keeps you going in these challenging times?" And make no mistake, these are challenging times!

All of the officers offered personal stories and anecdotes about what they do to keep themselves energized and motivated even in these tough times, but the thing that resonated with me perhaps the most was Dennis' reminder that it is important to remember who you are at the end of the day and not to confuse yourself about who YOU are as opposed to the office you hold and the position you currently have. That struck me as an important distinction and one that I have tried to practice in the course of my term because at some point, I will no longer have this job or hold the title and I will need to be in touch with who I am as a person as opposed to being the temporary holder of a title.

The rest of the training from Saturday through this morning had to do with building skills that will help to determine how to address upcoming challenges and how to frame a message that will capture the attention and imaginations of our members and the public at large. It was excellent training, but I admit, I am tired and ready to go home.

I haven't really rested up yet from the 10 days in Chicago for the NEA Convention. That was also a busy time, and we accomplished a lot of good work.

Tomorrow I turn my attention to our Legislative Committee meeting, and next week, we re-launch the Reggie Smith Training Academy under its new name: The Reggie Smith Organizing School. Over 200 VEA leaders will be convening at the University of Richmond for 2 1/2 days of training, camaraderie and fun. I am particularly excited about this event because it represents a campaign promise when I ran for president four years ago. It is exciting and gratifying to me that we are getting that training off the ground again at last.

I will also be going to my first NBPTS conference next week for just a couple days, and I am very excited about that.

And then, believe it or not I will be returning to DC for a NEA meeting and then traveling to Grayson County where they will be getting to go back to school already. Summer? What summer?

So, that is a quick summary of what has been going on and what is coming up. I hope anyone reading this is having a great summer yourself and that you are healthy, happy, and well.

Until next time.