Top 10 Take-Aways from Blogger Retreat in French Lick

As newbies to the world of blogging, we decided to jump in with both feet and sign up for the 2016 Teacher Blogger Retreat in French Lick, Indiana.  With our checklist going, we signed up, made our reservations, and great excitement ensued - until the date grew closer and we began to feel a bit  (okay, a LOT) of anxiety!  Why?  Well, for starters we didn't even have a blog up and running. We are consummate blog-stalkers who love learning from others but don't have a huge amount of faith in our ability to add to the discussion. Aren't there enough teacher blogs already?  What could we share that others would find useful or inspiring?

Doubts began to cloud our vision - a vision that we had thought should include a blog.  However, we were committed, so we pushed those doubts and our anxiety aside and dove in - and found that we weren't the only ones feeling like a blog-stalker-blogger-wannabe.  Meeting others in the same place and space in their journey was just what we needed to give us a boost of confidence.  Did we get a charge from meeting those whose blogs we have read and shared for years?  Absolutely!  Add to that the wonderful affirmation of meeting other teacher-authors who also were finding their voice - and WOW!

Oh, and did we mention the theme: Take your passion and make it happen!  Yes, those are lyrics to a fun 80s song from Flashdance, and, as it turns out, words of wisdom for a couple of blogger-wannabes - the Flubber Gals!

Here are our top 10 take-aways:

10.  Wow - 200+ teachers in a room is a lot of power and energy - and inspiration!

9.  Two words - Great. Sponsors.
Two walls of this huge conference room were lined with prizes and swag for us all!  We even won two very generous gift certificates, one from Digi by Amy and another from Tieks!

8.   Offer to help - we are fairly close to French Lick, so we offered to make a photo scavenger hunt and were thrilled to see the conference hashtags take off as teachers posted photos of themselves exploring the resort and making connections with other teacher-authors.  Look them up to see some of the fun!  #2016teacherbloggerretreat and #teacherstakefrenchlick

7.   Talk, talk, talk to everyone you can - whether from a neighboring town, state, or from across the country or outside the U.S. - this tribe of teachers is filled with smart, fun, caring educators!  From the teacher who inspired us to teach in a tutu to the teacher explaining "branding" (not something done to cattle out west) to the ones who gave us tips on working with other bloggers - we loved learning from all of the educators at this conference!

 6.   Two more words: Tireless. Organizers.  Hats off to Holly Ehle and her wonderful crew who made this look like the easiest thing in the world!

5.   Add or take-away?  If you're worried about having something of value to add, just remember that  sometimes take-aways are even better - so listen, listen, listen! Then listen some more!

4.   Find your passion and match that to your vision.  Find your voice and match it up to your vision - then stay true to your vision.

3.   Make connections with others and find ways to collaborate.  Anyone looking for bloggers to collaborate with - please let us know!

2.  Trust yourself enough to branch outside of your comfort zone and believe in your ability to make a difference!

1.  It's not about followers, friends, or freebies (even though teachers love freebies - like our edible flubber)....
it's about those kids in our classrooms.

That's why we do what we do.

We made some amazing connections and have some pretty fantastic sponsors to connect with, too! But that, my friends, is another blogpost!

Check out the other fabulous teacher-authors and bloggers here:

Take your passion and give it wings!

~ the Flubber Gals

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