Testimonial: “Changing America one life at a time

Testimonial is a regular feature of the new IMLA website.  This is where we’ll share reflections from IMLA members about what they’ve taken from our conference and implemented in their schools.

The following Testimonial comes from Phil Atkinson, 7th and 8th grade math and science teacher at Eagle Middle School.

Atkinson Phil 150I had the pleasure of attending the IMLA conference this year.  Eagle Middle hosted the conference and it was as the kids would say, “Totally Rad!”

As I watched the administration put it together, I realized how much work actually went in to pulling off such a terrific event!  I’m sure by the end of the weekend, our beloved Assistant Principal Micah Doramus, and current IMLA President-Elect, wanted to pull his hair out, but simply put, we all had a blast and appreciated his dedication and tireless efforts to blend humor, education, and comradery all into one fun-filled weekend.

I have always been impressed with the flexibility of the middle school mentality, and how quickly we can adapt to any situation with the poise and confidence of a bungee jumper.  Through tears and laughter I made it through the weekend without any mishaps.  It was really interesting to hear the alarm clock go off at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and come to my school finding as many teachers there around the coffee pot as the day before.  But, the cafeteria was alive with the buzz of interesting comments about the classes from the day before, the sharing of new ideas and stories of games and technology that could improve the learning environment in exciting ways.

I was stunned by the professionalism of my colleagues and the depth of applicable knowledge they brought to the table from around the state.  I learned how to effectively lead my students by diversifying my teaching style through numerous assessment activities.   I found intriguing ways to contribute to the individual learning styles in the classroom.  I brought several ideas back on how to effectively use STEM technology and allow students to be part of the learning process.  Most of all, listening to my peers receive recognition and awards for their amazing contributions, reminded me how fortunate and blessed I am to work in the West Ada School District.  It is full of qualified and dedicated teachers that are truly, “Changing America one life at a time.”   Thank you to all who made this conference a memorable and life changing event.

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