Darn!! It's all over and I'm home again. The GTS Alumni Retreat is over for another year and it was over way too fast. Hard to believe hos fast 24 hours goes by. It was a great opportunity to come back together and see where we all were after having attended a GTS in the past.
The validation and sense of community that I felt as we sat in a circle and got caught up with each other - sharing our experiences, issues, and practices had to be the highlight of the weekend. Taking time to come together, to pause and reflect on what we do as educators, to listen to others, and discover a shared passion for what you do is a very powerful thing.
I brought, for me (and who knows maybe for you too), an interesting perspective to the retreat. When I attended the GTS last year, I attended as a faculty member who had just finished his fourth year in the classroom at NSCC and had not yet begun a lengthy process that would end up with becoming an academic chair. Now a year later I'm at the alumni retreat, not only as a GTS alumni, but as an academic chair with a completely different perspective on the impact of the GTS. I found myself not only looking at what I do, but how what I do and what I've learned at the GTS would effect the faculty that I work with, great teachers all. As a chair I will do aaht I can to see that that all my faculty get the opportunity to attend the GTS.
I have four faculty attending the GTS this year (which started today - have an amazing weekend everyone) and I know they will come back better for the experience. Now I can't wait until next year when I hope to attend the whole week of the GTS with several of my fellow chairs in tow. We are all very busy, particularly this time of year, but I think it's very important for chairs and others at the College to attend the GTS - there is lots to share, lots to learn and lots to go away with.
It's OK to know that you are good at what you do and that you are part of a company of Great Teachers - we need to be better at celebrating what we do and who we are - and in the presence of the greatest teacher who gives all of us something to aspire to - David Gottshall.
It's the conversations that give the GTS it's power and if you want proof of that look no farther: