I have several thought running through my head. There are several blog posts yet to write but I feel the need to get this one written right now. It isn’t about the ISTE2015 conference that just ended yesterday in Philadelphia. But it is about the connections that will continue to be made because of that conference.
I arrived at the airport to catch my flight home. There were cranky people because we were all tired and there didn’t seem to be great organization at the check in counter. Slowly I felt my excitement for the trip fade. I felt the negativity start to creep in. Would this be any indication of how this trip was going to go? I certainly hoped not but was starting to dread what might very well try to dampen the week I had just had. (More on that in another post or two)
As I rounded the corner, I saw the largest line I had ever seen. It was for the security check in. I understand that the airport was very busy. But that line was so long, that they actually had to break it into parts and TSA agents were posted to keep people from joining at the wrong spot. As I made my way to the end of the second snaking portion, I caught up with a friend. Kristin Harrington, Lindsay Burke, and their co-workers were also heading home. We discovered we were on the same flight into Jacksonville, FL. For those of you that don’t know, Kristin is a dear friend of mine. I was so excited to know that I wasn’t traveling alone. A few minutes later, Kerry Gallagher join our little band of educators. While she wasn’t heading to Jacksonville, she was also having to endure the security measures. The more the merrier. And it was true. We were laughing, and enjoying each others’ company. It really made the situation better than I ever thought it could be.
Once through security, we said our good-byes to Kerry. She was catching up with educators from her school at another gate. The rest of us proceeded to our own gate to wait. Shortly after we settled in, I got a message from Beverly Ladd. She had arrived at the airport very early for her flight and came and joined us.
We started reflecting about our trip. What sessions did you like? Who did you see? What was your wow moment? Another educator (Chris G) joined in the conversation. He was recommending books. As we talked a little further, he said he couldn’t follow us on Twitter because he had reached his follower limit until he got more followers himself. I suggested he start a list so he could remember who inspired him. Several of us quickly pulled out our phones to follow him but, to our surprise some of us already were! Another face to face connection! It was amazing.
The conversation flowed from topic to topic. Each of us adding to the amazing learning that had already happened this week. Suddenly I had new energy. I was excited while sitting at the airport waiting for our flight to board. When we got word that it was delayed, we were bummed but not upset. It just meant more time to share. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. (This morning, I shared this picture on Twitter. The response was amazing. It was suggested that perhaps we plan for something like that after next year’s ISTE. It will be in Denver. What do you think? EdcampAirPort?)
But it didn’t stop for me when I boarded. I really wasn’t looking forward to having the last seat at the back of the plane. I don’t care to fly but I do it when I must. I am so cramped on most flights that it isn’t comfortable. But this time, I was blessed to be able to sit with two people that made the flight very enjoyable, Jane and Charlie. It all started with “Why were you in Philadelphia?” Anyone that knows me, knows that when I start talking about education and technology, my passion shows. These two wonderful people asked genuine questions about education. It was clear I was sitting with people that respected teachers.
As I shared how important this conference was to me, I also shared how many of these amazing educators had just met each other face to face for the first time, even though we had known each other through Twitter and Voxer for years. Charlie indicated that he was embarking on a new career path that was going to require him to learn how to use Twitter. I offered to assist him with that once he got settled after his quick flight to Florida and back to his home in the north east. I do believe I might hear from him next week. As we were getting ready to disembark the plane (a 2 hour trip that felt like 30 minutes), he said he would always remember Twitter Tammy. They were both very encouraging people. I will remember their kindness for many years to come.