The spring and summer months are full of professional development opportunities for agricultural educators. As I think back on my own career, some of my favorite professional development has come from regional conferences.
The cool thing about our regional conferences is that many of them are within driving distance. Those that aren't are still relatively short flights away from home. When I think back to the great experiences I've had at regional conferences, I can identify three major benefits of attending.
First, I've made great friendships and built wonderful relationships with teachers across the region. Building this network has given me access to experts in many different areas of agricultural education. Although the states in our regions are relatively close in proximity to each other, there is still a stunning degree of diversity from state to state. Knowing people with different experiences has improved my program here at home.
Second, regional conferences have allowed me to see how other state associations function. Learning about the different professional development and advocacy programs offered by other states has been very enlightening.
Finally, I have benefited from the professional development. Yearly, I share with my students the stories of places I've been and things I've seen at regional conferences. The experiences I've had on professional development tours have enriched my teaching by giving me great stories and photos to share.
Sign up for your regional conference! You'll be glad you did!
Speaking of big impacts, I would like to thank the NAAE staff for the work they do on our behalf. I would especially like to thank Katie Wood for her service to the association. Katie has decided to move home to Washington. We wish her and her family well.
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