As I sit in the lobby bar of the Renaissance hotel in Palm Springs, eating a cheeseburger and sucking down a soda, I’m reflecting on the last three days. This year was my first time making the journey, or pilgrimage, to the national CUE conference, or Spring CUE as it is called now. It is an enormous conference with around 7,000 attendees. Being that I live so far and it is during school days, it has always been too difficult to make the trek. This year I made it happen and let me just emphasize, I am so glad I did.
First and foremost, I enjoyed going to sessions on topics that not only stretched my brain, but filled my bucket. I loved listening to the interactions around me of attendees and other presenters. Over the few years I have been involved with CUE, I have made many friends and acquaintances of people who are not only smart, but passionate innovators. Listening and learning in the hallway, at the bar in the evening, and even at Karaoke, I am humbled to be a part of such at incredible network of educators. The conversations and the connections are worth any price I had to pay to get here.
I also had the opportunity to share my love of teaching students authentic writing in a session I call Blogging and Podcasting: Painlessly Prodding Students into Authentic Writing. It was a bit intimidating speaking to a packed room, but the attendees were so excited and receptive of the content, even when the wifi went down. As an added bonus, I had my college friend and two former students seated in the front row, cheering me on. I was blown away when several times during the days after, I had educators approach me, complimenting me on my session. Some even asked for selfies! It was surreal.
I am exhausted, but I’m also invigorated. I can’t wait to get back to the classroom on Monday. Of course, spending Sunday with my family sounds perfect, too.