Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Symposium Realizations

On February 17-18 I attended the TGC pre travel symposium in Washington D.C.  It was an amazing and at times overwhelming experience.  I came away from the weekend with two realizations.

1.)  You can meet your heroes!
There are many who say that meeting those you've admired from afar will only bring disappointment.    One of my cousins admired Jimmy Carter for many years before standing in line at a book signing near her home.  She apparently caught him on an off day or moment and came away completely uninspired if not totally disillusioned.  A music journalist friend of mine had a chance to interview one of his all-time favorite musicians, Neil Young.  He ended up so nervous that he was mostly incoherent throughout the interview.  During the online course portion of TGC, there were so many amazing people and resources introduced to us.  The Symposium brought several of these superstars of global education to sessions and a resource fair.  They did not disappoint!

  • Craig Perrier:  Craig was our online instructor and guide through fantastic resources and challenging assignments.  Craig and I sat at the same dinner table the first night and I so enjoyed talking with him!  He has a great sense of humor and I found him to be interesting and interested-two traits that don't always go together.
  • Julia De La Torre : Julia presented a webinar to our class on global education that was phenomenal.  It was informative, practical, and dead-on!  She was received so positively by our online community that I actually feared that meeting her in person would be too much for us all.  When I caught up with her in-between sessions, she couldn't have been more gracious, smart, and just all-around awesome.  
  • Susanna Halliday Miller and Kristin LaBoe:  Susanna and Kristin are two of the most visible of the TGC team.  They were so helpful to me throughout the course and in setting up travel and negotiating with my district.  I worried a bit about our meeting after my many questions and "situations".  They are lovely and incredibly competent women.  I am so happy to get to travel with Susanna, in three days!
  • TGC Fellows:  What an interesting group of truly dedicated professionals.  I could have spent most of the weekend looking at and discussing the work they are doing in their classrooms or their fascinating schools and lives.  I feel fortunate and humbled to be included in this outstanding group. 
2.)  Wearing a name tag with a fact on it is a great way to get your head around something BIG.
My symposium name tag said:  Meg Riley

Yes, the word, Arizona, prompted many conversations about the state of education and politics in our state and district.  More importantly were the comments about my future travel.  Over and over I heard, "You're going to Ghana!"  My response became, "Yes, in two weeks."  I have known that I am going to Ghana since December but hearing it over and over again made it real.  It was an incredibly effective way to keep something in the forefront on my mind.  So effective, in fact, that I've considered wearing a name tag like this as a way to process all the major events and impending dates in my life.  My name tag could say things like:                
                                                        Meg Riley
                                                        Mid-Quarter grades are due on Friday
                                                        Meg Riley
                                                        Capstone Project due in October

or  even                                           Meg Riley
                                                        My daughter will be a teenager (officially)  in 1.5 years.

Right now my name tag now says, "school starts in one hour" and "you have at least 3, 000 to do before leaving for Ghana in three days".  Thanks for reading, my next post will hopefully be written in Accra, Ghana.


  1. Good luck, Meg! It's going to be so exciting to hear what you have to say about your experience in Ghana! Also, I noticed you had a disclaimer on your blog about it not being the official line of the US State Department. Did I miss something about adding such a thing? Or did you just think it was a prudent thing to do? Bon voyage!

  2. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for the comment. The disclaimer was on the latest email from TGC which I'm now realizing that maybe only the Ghana cohort received. Feel free to copy it from the blog!

  3. Hi,

    Have a wonderful trip! Your blog looks great and I really liked your insights about the name true. PS. I received the disclaimer email as well.

  4. Meg,I was able to get onto your blog. Great seeing you last night. The girls were so excited to see you and fill you in on their lives. Quinn's party was fun; she really racked in the presents. Can't believe she is nine! Tim is doing a fine job as Mom and Dad. All is quiet on this front. Enjoy, enjoy. What an experience. Love..... Dorothy

    posted 3/6/12