A Hero’s Journey to CUE Rock Star Chico

Think about a character in your favorite movie, and the journey they go on. Listen for the call to adventure, accept the challenge, conquer fears, and claim the treasure they seek. My journey in being a faculty member for CUE Rock Star Chico follows this very outline.

My journey with CUE started about three years ago, when I was sent to attend National CUE. I was a kid in a candy shop. The innovative mindset that the presenters were focusing on made me change my perspective of how I ran my classroom. I stumbled upon a booth at CUE called, CUE Rock Star. By the name, I was easily intrigued….(who wouldn’t want to be a Rock Star?). After listening to the presentation, I knew I had to ask my Assistant Principal to see if he would let me go, and I was sent to my very first CUE Rock Star in Manhattan Beach. I was amazed to meet some phenomenal teachers (@nowatechie @LS_Karl @Jstevens009 @JenRoberts1 @MsVictoriaOlson @CoffeeNancy) The CUE Rock Star set up during these camps was much smaller and allowed for: one on one communication, hands on time, and an exciting atmosphere. Needless to say after my first Rock Star, I was hooked. I knew that I wanted to attend one every summer, but I also felt this urge of, “You’re going to do this one day.” The first I was sure of, I’ve been to a Rock Star camp every summer, but I was greatly unsure of the second.

My journey into presenting and leading trainings didn’t fully start until about two years ago. I would lead small sessions and discussions within my school site, but never wanted to go past that. One would say I’m pretty extroverted, however it does not come naturally to me. I have to fight my own insecurities to be outgoing. However, as I led small trainings at my site and later my district, I began to feel comfortable with my knowledge. It wasn’t until February of this year, that I discussed with my Tech Sister (my sounding board & tech best buddy) that it would be a great thing to start presenting at larger conferences, such as CUE. I initially was scared, did I have what it takes to be successful?

To my surprise, I was accepted to teach at CUE Rock Star Chico. After being accepted, I went through all the stages of emotion. The main emotion and thought that would run through my head was, “Am I going to bomb this?” However, I carried the support of my summer school office staff and their positive words of affirmation with me to the airport.

I tell you all of this backstory to tell you about my journey as a CUE Rock Star Faculty Member….

If you are familiar with the CUE Rock Star camps you will know that there is a component called the “Shred Sessions.” If you are a camp attendee it’s the time to hear about all the fun and engaging opportunities you will experience during a faculty members session. As a presenter it was one of the most scariest time of my life. I can be humorous and fun, but I am not a singer, dancer or performer. As I was watching my fellow faculty members rock their sessions, I was dying on the inside. When it was my turn, I went up, don’t really remember what I said, but was excited I was done with the shred. Unsure of what I said made any sense, I was ecstatic to see attendees come to my “episodes”.

The theme for this year’s CUE Rock Star camps was “A Hero’s Journey”. As I reflect on my experience as a faculty member I can see relate my story so much to a journey.

The stages of a hero’s journey are as follows:

  1. Listen for your call to adventure
  2. Accept the challenge
  3. Conquer your fear
  4. Claim the treasure you seek

The call to adventure that was presented to me was taking the step out of my comfort zone and applying to teach outside of my district. I wanted to spread my passion to other educators ready for a challenge. So once I found my adventure, I took the step and applied. Let me just say applying to speak at conferences or for things in general really takes a toll of a woman’s psyche. I questioned everything! Even from the littlest things, such as whether or not to add a bitmoji to the slide. Overall, through the process I had an amazing support team, constantly encouraging me and reassuring me, I can do this! Then as I said before, I conquered my fear. Those shred sessions were the biggest hurdle. Actually teaching the episode was the best part! The definite treasure in my journey: being able to share and interact with teachers. Watching them learn how to do tips, tricks or redesign their lessons is so rewarding.

As I walk away from an absolute blessing, I tell you to find what can be your own Hero’s Journey. Find your adventure, accept the challenge, conquer your fear, and claim the treasure you seek. So many of you, educators and people, have so much to offer the world. We often limit ourselves to reach our full potential due to fear, doubt and insecurities. I can speak about that first hand. But seriously, you have so much to give, why not give freely. I can’t wait to hear how you are using your talents to give back. Be the hero!

Ed. Note- Registration is still open for summer Rock Star Camps and Fall Specialty Rock Star Camps.


Jennifer Calderon is Google for Education Certified Educator and Trainer from Oak Hills, California. She is currently an AP Biology, Honors Biology and Freshmen Focus teacher. Alongside being a teacher she is a Team Technology Leader as well as the ASB Advisor. Jennifer enjoys incorporating G Suite for Education tools to meet the various curriculum standards. She has a passion for teaching students and other educators to become 21st Century learners. In 2013, 2015 and 2017, Jennifer was selected as Teacher of the Year for Oak Hills High School. In 2015, Jennifer was named Secondary Teacher of the Year for H.U.S.D. She blogs at lifelearningpassion.com.

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