Last week we were off for the U.S. Holiday, Thanksgiving. Renay was recently reminded of posts from two years ago of ParaEducate’s first step into National conventions.
So, yesterday opened the annual TASH Conference. ParaEducate was last there at national TASH in 2013 and it was a great experience. We’ve been to many TASH regional conferences—Cal-TASH and AZ-WINS, but I can tell you there are few, if any, paraeducators at these conferences.
How to choose a conference?
We are big fans of TASH and their regional conferences. Other conferences that tend to be smaller and more specific in scope include the CSEA Paraeducator’s Conference (specific to California), and then every other year is the National Paraeducator’s Conference. TASH is inclusive over all, so expect professors, graduate students, self-advocates, government representatives, and allies. The paraeducator’s conferences are all about skills for paraeducators to have.
Look for a conference that is close by or look for a conference that has inclusive education. Look for conferences that are specific to disabilities.
So why go?
Go because this is a great way to professionally network. And meet self-advocates, government officials and educators all working and sharing their stories. They remind you of the successes you are having in the classroom and on your campus. They remind you that you are working for a purpose: that inclusion does make a community better.
How can I afford to go?
Well, this is a pretty big barrier to going to conferences. If a conference is not in your state, you have at least airfare and hotel costs to consider. Some schools or districts have some funds for professional development. Universities may also support graduate students attending if their presentations have been accepted. If you cannot afford a full conference pass, try just going for one day. Those opportunities, even if you are not presenting are quite powerful.
Conferences are a great tool. They provide you training you can go back and be excited to share with your colleagues. They are a get away and help develop skills that you may not be aware that you will need. It gives you a new way to contribute to your team at work. Encourage general education teachers or administrators to come with you to larger conferences. They may find information that they would not have understood.
ParaEducate is not at TASH this year but will hopefully be at a future conference. And we’ll tell you where and when to find us.
Find out more about TASH here.
There are only 2 more blogs for 2015! Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here, here, and here. ParaEducate is company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.