NAEA Conference San Diego

NAEA Conference San Diego

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Man, am I lucky! The spring break at my cooperating high school aligned with the spring break of Columbia as well as the week when the NAEA Conference was taking place in San Diego. The Art Ed MAT cohorts planned ahead of time, and held multiple fundraisers throughout the year to help pay for some of the cost for all of us to go. We kept the bill low by staying in a downtown hostel and sharing rooms. This lead to more money leftover for eating and other fun activities like surfing at Mission Beach; it was awesome!

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What is NAEA you might ask? It’s the National Art Education Association. They hold a national conference every year that travels to different major cities throughout the country. The conference offers pre-service teachers, current teachers, retirees, museum educators, art supply vendors and practicing artists an opportunity to share their research by offering lectures, presentations, workshops and art tours throughout the host city and convention center. The convention lasts over three days and offers activities from eight in the morning through the evening. Part of the challenge is choosing which lectures and activities to participate in because there are so many going on simultaneously.  The activities are fifty minutes in length and offer visitors some time for a bathroom/snack break before moving on to the next event.
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For me, one of the best parts of the conference is the amount of enthusiasm for art education and the willingness to share and communicate. So many of the lecturers I witnessed shared their emails, presentations and links so that we could access their information later when we get home and keep the conversations going beyond the weekend. The conference gave me so many ideas that I can now incorporate into my own teaching practice, that I would never be able to find on my own.

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The best, BEST part of this trip was spending time with people in my program, as well as other pre-service members of NAEA. Right now with student teaching, my cohort is extremely busy and we are not offered a lot of time to spend with the cohort below us. I went to dinner with our head teacher at Columbia, and there were other student teachers residing at the hostel with us. Being around people who share the same passions as you is uplifting and gets the heart beating again. Where is it taking place next year? Take a hint from the photo below.
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