An Open Letter from the Teach Better Team – #TeachBetter20

Jeff GargasBlog, Connect Better, Lead Better

If you’re reading this, first and foremost know that you are awesome. You are why we do what we do. You are what BETTER is all about.

When I think back to the end of the 2019 Teach Better Conference, I cannot help but smile. And I mean, like, ear to ear, make your cheeks hurt, full on smiling! Legit happiness. I’ve tried many times to put into words how it felt to play a part in having so many amazing educators come together to learn, grow, and create ever-lasting relationships. It was truly, and I mean this, one of the best experiences of my entire life. The pride I felt after that event is indescribable.

That is why this decision was so difficult for all of us.

Our goal with the Teach Better Conference and everything we do is to create a world where every educator is connected, supported, and inspired to be BETTER.  We believe that creating this uniquely aspiring experience requires an in person event, and with the unknowns still surrounding COVID-19, we worry we would be putting YOU, our Teach Better family, at risk.  Therefore, we are officially canceling the 2020 Teach Better Conference. 

I need you to know, on behalf of the entire team, this was not an easy decision. We have been debating this, almost daily, ever since COVID-19 came to the United States. As we watched conference after conference cancel their events, we crossed our fingers and hoped that ours was far enough away, that the virus would fade away and things would calm down by the time we needed to make a final decision. But they haven’t. In fact, in many states, things have gotten worse.

It is impossible to know whether we’ll be allowed to gather more than 25-50 people in a room come October. We can’t know what air travel will look like a couple weeks from now, let alone 2 months. We worry that you might book plane tickets, arrange for hotel stays, and plan for the trip, only to find out a week beforehand that we’re no longer allowed to host it.

What it really came down to, though, is the idea of our event putting you at risk. That is the end of the discussion for us. That is what really made the decision for us. Even if things get better enough to allow us to put on the event. Even if we know for sure that we’ll be allowed to bring a few hundred people together. Would it be safe? Would we be putting our friends at risk? Unfortunately, with so many unknowns, we cannot answer that question with any certainty. And for us, not being able to know for sure that we could do it safely, is not okay. For us, it’s not worth putting you at risk.

So what now?

Well, first off, if you’ve already registered for the conference, don’t worry, we’ll be refunding all registration 100%. Secondly, we do not plan on transitioning the conference to a virtual platform. We believe the experience we envision needs to be in person. However, we also know so many of you were as excited as we were to see people like Dr. Valerie Camille Jones, Matt Miller, CJ Reynolds, Mandy Froehlich, and all our other amazing speakers, so we are going to continue with our July 14th Virtual Network Event. We are also working on a special virtual event this Fall as well, which will also include many of the awesome educators who were planning to be at #TeachBetter20.

Along with these two events, we are continuing to work hard every day to create more opportunities for you to connect with other amazing educators, to learn, to grow, and to pursue BETTER.

This was not a fun note to write. This was not a fun decision to make. We are all incredibly saddened to have to cancel the 2020 conference.

But you can rest assured…we’re already planning for 2021! 

Thank you for being a part of our family. Thank you for continuing to learn and grow with us. Thank you for continuing to help us be BETTER every day.

We appreciate you.

– Jeff and the entire Teach Better Team