If you’ve never been to Podstock or maybe you’ve attended before but didn’t get as deeply involved as you wanted to, then consider trying out one or two of these ideas. Remember, at Podstock, we are the learners we expect our students to be.
- Get Your Costume Together. Yeah, I said it. A costume. This year, you’ll see many educators dressed as superheroes because we’re celebrating all that is right in education as we’re also developing the chops to fight all that’s wrong in education. That takes some superhero skills!
* you don’t have to wear a costume to be cool, but all who are wearing costumes are “automagically” in the cool kid club. Even if it’s a little cape or mask. Or maybe they’re cleverly disguised in a teacher-sweater or teacher-tie. Hmmm…
- Meet new people. Purposefully move away from anyone you came to the conference with and go sit with people you don’t know. Then talk with them. Where are they from? Why did they come to Podstock? Do they know the presenter? Why did they choose this session? At 11am, ask the people next to you where they’re going for lunch and see if you can tag along. At 3pm, ask the people next to you where they’re going for dinner. Don’t be shy because that’s a normal thing at this conference. It’s about getting reacquainted with people you already know and meeting the best friends you’ve not yet met.
* what is weird is not reaching out and assuming that people are already with friends. Chances are, they’re with people they don’t know. What’s one more new friend? Don’t be alone unless you want to be.
- Once you’ve met new people, exchange your social media info. There’s nothing better than continuing a conversation or being able to ask someone about that one tip in that one session that that one lady showed…you know the one right? Because between Podstock and home, I forgot! If you’re not on social media, ask your new friends which they like and why. Do they like Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ best? Why? How does it help them be a better educator? And then ask them to help you get set up.
* Again, this is not weird. This is expected.
- Be on the lookout for wallflowers. Help bring them into the conversation by getting to know them. Ask them how they’re feeling. Because Podstock can be overwhelming. Help them find the hotel lobby across the street and go for a quick, quiet time out. That is also acceptable. Not everyone thrives in the hubbub that is Podstock. Take a timeout. Breathe. Organize yourself before you dive back in.
* many newbies feel overwhelmed at first. Wallflowers are often feeling overwhelmed. Help them find balance. And take the tip yourself, if you need to. You can always find what you missed on Facebook or Twitter!
- Dance at the dance. Get silly. Move those muscles. Get a workout. Smile and laugh! Or if you just simply do not dance (I don’t), move around the room, talking with people. Or maybe you’re just chilling with people, nodding your head to the beat. That’s cool. Just do it with someone you’ve recently met. This is a social event and you are invited to be one of the crowd, jumping, wiggling, sweating, and rocking the night away!
* heads up, children of the 70’s and 80’s will love the music.
- Sign up for and participate in the extra side events. So maybe you just can’t bring yourself to walk up to a stranger and start a conversation. Maybe instead, you need a purpose to talk with someone else. Then these side events are totally for you. There is usually a gift exchange where you bring an inexpensive gift that represents where you’re from or who you are to share. Another side event is a photo walk, usually held Friday morning before the conference day starts where we walk in a group, photographing parts of Old Town Wichita. Maybe there’s a flash mob. Or a sing-along. Or maybe you’ll be into one of the other side events that is sure to pop up before Podstock happens. Just keep an eye on the Podstock Facebook page and you’ll see the announcements of those events and details for getting involved.
* sometimes these side events are small and just what the introvert ordered.
- Get your picture taken with a new friend. There are many photo ops at Podstock. We like to document and preserve memories and events. So grab a buddy and do a selfie (take a picture of yourself). Or better yet, grab a presenter you really enjoyed and take a quick photo with him/her. Then post it on the Podstock Facebook page to truly be one of the cool kids.
* bonus points for silly, wide grins!
Come on! What do you have to lose?
Join us and be the learner you expect your students to be!