All during Thanksgiving week, I decided to ignore work totally, something I never do. My focus was to enjoy my visit at the beach with my family. I especially didn’t want to miss a moment with my adorable 4 month-old grandson who does something new and totally captivating with his every breath. Baking 5 pies and a mudslide cheesecake was indulgent and symbolic of my avoidance of what was to come. I was going to face what I so inaccurately called, “a week from h%*#” once my blissful Thanksgiving break ended.
Why was it a week I was dreading so completely? I needed to finish preparing 5 conference slideshow presentations and get my head wrapped around a 3-hour professional development session I was to deliver to a group of WCPSS principals. Did I voluntarily overextend myself? Yes. Sound overwhelming? I was. Totally. Little did I realize it was going to be the best week of my professional life, EVER!
I won’t lie. I procrastinated (I work better under pressure I tell myself.) and had to stay up way too late three nights in a row to get everything done and feel super prepared, my key to warding off a major anxiety attack before presenting.
Under the direction of Marlo Gaddis, The Wake County Public School System’s Instructional Technology and Library Media Services (ITLMS) department organizes a 2-day conference each spring and fall called Convergence Symposium (#wonderwake) for media and tech staff. She clearly sends us the message she values investing in our professional development and that we are vital to our district’s instructional program and students’ success.
This was our 6th conference, and it continues to get bigger and better. Over 600 dedicated attendees networked and experienced amazing sessions by over 90 talented presenters and keynote speakers. George Courous, well-known author of the book, The Innovator’s Mindset, delivered a closing keynote that was life-changing! His presentation was quick-paced, funny and inspiring. We laughed and cried and most importantly, he made us THINK! He encouraged us to get connected and blog.
I thought about it for a split second, but deep down inside I was filled with doubt. My 7 year-old attempt at blogging had ended quickly. Who was interested in what I had to say?
Over the next few days, several of my amazing PLN (Personal Learning Network) members (Melanie Farrell and Chistine Tuttle) who were already blogging sent a series of encouraging private messages to nudge the rest of us to dive in.
My postings on Twitter congratulating, KyleHamstra and Brendan Fetters for getting their blogs up and running resulted in a Tweet from Bill Ferriter (The Tempered Radical) who asked if I had a blog he could follow. Next came the icing on the cake, a tweet of encouragement from George Courous in which he encouraged a colleague, Kim Collins and me to publish. (He even called us, “bestie!”) Now, I had to do this! They convinced and helped me believe my thoughts do matter!
So, here you have it….my first posting of my renewed attempt to blog. I am thrilled to get this going again! My intent is to share how I am helping myself, other educators and students “be better”, and hopefully we’ll all laugh and think along the way!
PS ~ My conference presentations were a success based on evaluations and session participants’ comments and tweets. My dread over presenting a digital learning session to principals was really a result of my fear that I would look incompetent or unprepared. Thankfully, I was neither. The Central Area group was welcoming, friendly, engaged, and contributed to thoughtful conversations. It was an amazing week of professional growth!
PPS ~ Please consider blogging and guiding your students to blog. If I can do it, so can YOU!