I found the S.A.F.E. conference to be a unique educational experience. I always learn and value information so much more when I am actively engaged in a session and directly dealing and talking with real people, rather than researching the topic or reading a paper about it, so I am grateful that this conference allowed us to do just that.
I thought the keynote with Chelsea Vowel was really fascinating. She was extremely engaging with the way she spoke, and the fact that she had so many personal experiences and connections to the knowledge and information she was sharing with us, I felt really enhanced and added value to what she was addressing. She is evidently exceptionally educated in numerous areas of study, which I found made her opinion and words even more power, as she truly understood everything she spoke about from a variety of perspectives. Many people cannot speak about a topic, especially one like this that is so crucial and sensitive, and have the ability to realize how many people from different backgrounds understand it in different ways. Additionally, I appreciated the way Chelsea critically analyzed and shared her opinions about the current government and politics surrounding these topics, as it only further inspired me to constantly be analyzing and critiquing what I am teaching my students.
Furthermore, one of the sessions that really stood out to me was Claire Krueger and Mike Cappello’s session Uncomfortable By Design. First of all, I thought it was great how Mike opened up to us about a flaw he made within one of his lessons, and talked about how he revaluated it and gained a valuable perspective from it. We are all humans and will all inevitably end up making some mistakes within our future teaching careers, but the fact that Mike took this mistake and turned it into a powerful educational experience was inspiring, and reassured me that positive things can come from one’s errors. Secondly, wow did I take away a lot from this session! Claire’s opinion on the women’s image being used in class was something I do not think I would have thought about on my own, but was such an important and valid perspective to have. Their discussions on this really made me think about the ways these kind of events and problems are dealt with within the media, and what the impacts of their portrayal of these events has on our society as a whole. Claire and Mike were very humble about their uncomfortable, yet incredibly influential learning experience, and I appreciated how they spoke to all of us on a personal level and opened themselves up for critique. I was pleasantly surprised by how much knowledge I gained from this session.