After the first day of #ISTE2015, I had the opportunity to just walk around the streets of Philadelphia a bit reflecting on the incredible day I’d just had.
I met many new people, most of whom I’ve been connected with on Twitter for a long time. I also had the chance to see many familiar faces and it was great to catch up with them as well. This is definitely one of my favorite parts of events like this. For me, events like ISTE and FETC are all about the connections, the people.
As I was wandering the streets by myself, I came across an area (the corner of Broad Street and Arch Street, I believe) just outside the Broad Street Atrium, where the poster sessions were being displayed. I heard some kids skateboarding. I decided to take a look. As I approached the area, it appeared to be a place that was supposed to be off limits as there was police caution tape knocked to the ground where it had once blocked the entrance to the small staircase to the area these kids turned into a skate park.
Finally, on the third try after promising me he was going to do it, he stuck the landing perfectly. He skated over and I gave him a high five. He was all smiles. I asked him why he kept trying. He thought about it for a second, paused, then raised his right hand and pointed to a group of kids sitting on some steps across the way and said “they kept telling me I could do it. After a while, I knew I could.” These other kids ran over to him just as excited as he was. They hugged him, shook his hand and expressed their excitement with words teenagers use (not suitable for this blog.)
He made me realize that persistence really pays off. This young man, whom I’ll most likely never see again and only knew for about 40 minutes has inspired me to change the way I do my job. Persistence. When I feel myself getting frustrated because things aren’t working the way I think they should, persistence. When the teachers get frustrated because technology didn’t work perfectly the first time they tried it, persistence. He’s changed the way I view my role in my school district.
But, most importantly, he helped me better understand what Rafranz was talking about in her ISTE IGNITE presentation. Let’s stop judging kids by the color of their skin or their gender or the way they wear their clothes. Every kid has greatness in them. Every kid has something amazing to offer. Every kid is an inspiration.
It’s up to us to be persistent.