So it happened…. I did my presentation on Saturday and….. it went actually not too bad. I won’t lie to you I was so nervous, I honestly was not sure I was going to be able to get up in front of a bunch of people and talk about how I connect my classes with the world outside. But I did do it, I stepped outside my comfort zone.
I will go into how it went a bit more but I do want to jump ahead because for me this was the important thing. At the end of the day when we were wrapping things up, a teacher came up to me and talked about how she was sorry she missed my presentation. There had been so many others she wanted to go to, she just didn’t get a chance to come to mine. However, I did talk a bit more at the end of the day to the group as a whole during the “unconference” time and she was quite interested in what I had done to connect my class. She explained that she too had tried this year to try something new with her little class of grade 2 students, have tried connecting like I had. Unfortunately for her the experience had not gone well… at all. The tech part of it, which was something she was not comfortable with because it was so new to her, did not work. Then to make matters worse, the tech person at her school who was supposed to help her with this made her feel incompetent by getting impatient with her, basically making her feel bad that she couldn’t figure out how to work things. So this negative experience made her step back into what she knew, what she was comfortable with and made her think that this connecting through tech was something she just was not good at so therefore she should just quit while she was ahead.
I felt so bad for her while listening to her. She had taken a chance and stepped outside her comfort zone but unfortunately the support she needed didn’t end up being there. Now I am not pointing fingers, there could be a multitude of reasons why things turned out the way they did. But it did make me look to my experience that morning…. there I was in front of everyone and what did I see, friends who took time out of their busy weekend just to hear me speak, colleagues who again came in especially on a Saturday to support me, heck even my principal even came.(how amazing was that!!) I had not asked any of them to come… I had just mentioned my worries, my fears and there they all were, ready to support me. Whether my presentation went well or fell flat, they were all there. As well, both before and after my presentation time, I had a multitude of texts and messages on twitter from friends and colleagues wishing me luck, telling me they knew I would do amazing, I had a ton of people in my corner supporting me.
So I gave that teacher my email and told her that if she wanted to try again, I was willing to help her out in whatever she tried to do, I would give advice on how it might work better or just answer any questions she had. I even told her that she should come in and see my class in action when we do our connecting activities, so she could see how it actually worked. I tried to give her the support I thought she needed so that maybe perhaps, she might try it again.
The thing is we are all in this together, for us to help our students, to give them these opportunities we need to work together and support each other. There will be times when things go wrong, when the tech blows up in our faces and we may think its time to throw in the towel. Speaking from experience though, having someone in your corner can make you wiling to try things out, can give you the confidence to step out that comfort zone we all have. I know that’s why I did…..