With the summer just around the corner, it is time for teachers to start thinking about some of those big summer conferences! But let’s be honest, many schools have cut down our funding for professional development.
How To Get Your Principal To Send You To A Conference
One conference I will be attending this year is Frog Street Splash! I attended last year and I have to say it is the best teacher conference I have ever attended. The classes were on-point and the climate of the conference was fun, focused, and inclusive of all teachers! I am excited to say that I will be returning this year to Texas from July 21-23 to be an ambassador for Frog Street Splash! I am hopeful you all will join me and so here are some tips on How To Get Your Principal To Send You To A Conference.
The argument for attending a big teacher conference:
I am not suggesting you go in to this arguing, but you do want to have some benefits to attending a teacher conference. Here are some reasons to go:
- To gain the most cutting-edge knowledge from respected industry leaders.
- To get new teaching ideas and activities to do with your students.
- To get first-hand information and have hands-on learning.
- To connect with others in your grade level.
- For time to really focus on your students.
- To gain knowledge to share with your team or school.
- To see all the cool vendors and new resources for your students.
Be well prepared and have a plan:
You are going to want to be well prepared to speak to your administrator about attending a teacher conference. I would suggest making an outline (just as if you were typing out an email) to make sure you thoroughly think through what you want to say. Here are some things you may want to plan out:
- When, where, and how you will get there. If it is out of state, have a plan for paying for airfare and hotel just in case your school district won’t pay for that. (Some do, it really just depends.)
- Know the classes you will want to attend and be able to share those specifically and state how they will impact your students. Be sure to have 2-3 examples ready to talk about.
- Be direct but kind and don’t lead with “I want to go to Frog Street Splash.” Plan to explicitly state that you want to attend but you want to lead with something related to your students. “I have really been focusing on writing this year with my students and I feel like we have made some major gains.” Provide some quick examples and then say “So I found this conference in Texas that has a ton of classes to help me take my students to the next level.”
- Will you share the information with your grade level or school? Be proactive and don’t let your principal suggest because then you attending is for the greater good of your school and not just you.
Some other tips to get you to your favorite conference:
- Talk to your principal at the right time. Seems weird to say, but you would definitely not want to start a conversation with them right after school or during the week of state testing. They just have too much on their plates during this time to be open to hearing you out.
- Depending on your principal, you may want to give the impression that you will go even if they won’t pay for it. This will show them how passionate you are about going so they know it is important to you.
- Don’t be negative. Your principal will talk about budget cuts and professional development funding, but don’t let that get you down. They have very limited budgets and have to pick and choose where they spend it so you have to convince them to spend it on YOU.
- Don’t give up and followup. Principals are busy people and they manage lots of people on your campus. Don’t annoy, but don’t drop it and don’t wait for them to come to you. Gentle reminders or soft conversations about it showing enthusiasm for going are best.
And, of course, I am by no means suggesting bribery, but we all know some brownies, a cherry coke from Sonic, or picking up and extra duty or two does not hurt to remind them just how dedicated you are to your school community! I admit, I will do whatever I can to get to a quality teacher conference!
I hope to see you at Frog Street Splash this year and I am hopeful you can get your principal to pay for it! Here are 13 Reasons You Should Attend to motivate you to want to come to Frog Street Splash! It is DEFINITELY a conference you don’t want to miss if you are an early childhood educator. Not to mention we can do lunch, attend a class together, or attend the big Luau dinner together!