I was glad I went to the Saturday session of the Celebration of Teaching and Learning. I got lots of great freebees--enough hand sanitizers, pens, pencils and erasers to last until the end of my career. I got tee shirts and post-its, key chains and notebooks. Best of all, I got a flashmaster, a little hand held computer that drills basic arithmetic facts in a really fun way. You might think, teaching high school, I don't need this, but you are wrong.
I didn't bother going to most of the workshops and lectures. Spending my weekend listening to that stuff held no appeal. I did go to the Town Hall meeting with Michael Mulgrew (got my ticket though a UFT contest writing an essay about effective teaching) and I got to speak! I got to speak out about how Value-added evaluation will pit teacher against teacher and how I am a 36 year veteran teacher, still going strong. The crowd seemed to love my comments, but I don't have much faith in any difference they will make. The only other session I went to was one with Dr. Oz. I refused to wait on line to see him, so I sat all the way on the side. I didn't mind watching on the big screen since I'm not a fan. (I never saw him before.)
I didn't notice Cathie Black or Michael Bloomberg anywhere on the progam, which seemed kind of strange to me. You would think, the Education Mayor and the Chancellor would definitely be key note speakers at a conference hosted in the city they represent. Could it be that people who celebrate learning see how education has been harmed under their leadership? It is probably a good thing they didn't show up. I bet they would have grabbed all the samples and left none for the people who need them.