Gina D. Riley is a seventh grade science, language, and social studies teacher at Salem Grade School in Salem, Wis. She is the former president and current member of Iota Rho/Wisconsin-Platteville. We ran across a reflection from Gina after she attended Convo 2011, and it was so compelling, we wanted to share it with you. When we asked if she would mind us posting it, we also asked if she would be joining us this year. She said, “Yes, I will be joining you in Dallas! I believe it is my seventh Convo! I know I have never missed one and have been attending since I was in college. This is my twelfth year teaching seventh grade. It is amazing that I have not missed…somehow, I have fit in Convo!” Enjoy her reflection:
Looking back, I realized that this was my sixth Convocation attended. I started attending and presenting sessions as an undergraduate student at The University of Wisconsin-Platteville with fellow students and professors; Dr. Rea Kirk and Dr. John Nkemnji. As a 10-year, veteran educator, I continue to come for camaraderie, networking, and gaining of knowledge and insight into the complex world of education. I also greatly enjoy sharing ideas that have worked for me as a teacher. Convocation motivates and reminds us why we love our jobs so much. I am so thankful that my Iota Rho Chapter invites me to join them at Convocation. Keeping the connection with the professors and current students is so important.
This past year has been a rough year to be an educator in the state of Wisconsin. Educators have not been respected as professionals and valued for what we do for children and the future. As with many states around the country, we, as a staff, dealt with severe budget cuts that have impacted our school and personal pocketbooks. My building is working hard to make positive changes, but in the back of our minds, the staff in my school is stressed and hurting from the damage that has been done to our school families. For my fellow staff member and me, professional development, supplies, and program offerings have been negatively affected. We are living in tough economic times and it is difficult some days to stay positive and hopeful for the future of our country and education system.
Thank you to KDP and my fellow Kadelpians for motivating me at Convocation to keep the spirit. Each member I talked to in Indianapolis was supportive and put what I am experiencing as an educator in perspective. Even though it is a tough time in education, I still make a positive difference in the lives of children and should be proud of who I am and what I do for my students. In the words of our speakers; I AM A TEACHER!
I want to encourage pre-service and current educators to continue attending Convocation. The networking and sharing of ideas with fellow educators is invaluable. We can all learn from each other. Every time I attend Convocation, I return home rejuvenated and full of ideas. It is like being a new teacher all over again. Pass the knowledge, continue to share ideas, and show children how much you care about them! See you in Dallas!