Last week, I spent four days at two different conferences:
METC (Missouri Education and Technology Conference) and
Write to Learn (A regional conference for ELA teachers).
Why these two local conferences were scheduled for the same week, I will never know.
It stressed me out pretty good.
I love conference going.
I love leading sessions.
I do not love leaving my classroom for four consecutive days.
But it was worth it.
It was so worth it, I will probably wind up with two weeks of posts about said conferences.
I used to get really nervous about presenting.
Not so much anymore.
I've had a lot more practice.
As an aside: If you want to attend conferences, the best way to acquire funding is to have a session accepted.
Saying no is much harder when you've volunteered to represent your school.
Anyway, my METC presentation came first on Tuesday afternoon.
The majority of the day had been productive and engaging.
There are always a few stinkers, but even in the sessions that weren't engaging, per se, still had content I found worthwhile.
And there were no internet problems.
That never happens.
Conferences always struggle to provide enough bandwidth.
I was super relieved and excited.
This was my third METC as a presenter and I had no internet access the first two years I presented.
At a technology conference.
About new ways to use technology.
In interactive sessions.
So the thought that this year would be different was exhilarating.
But alas, it was not to be.
My meeting room had not access.
Neither I nor any of my participants could get online.
Thankfully, I was prepared.
Given my previous experiences, I took the needed precautions.
Before the conference, I made sure I had it downloaded to my Chromebook.
I had more material than I could cover with access to my links etc.
Just in case I needed to fill time.
And so I was ready.
It went well.
I had a full room of 25-30 people.
A few left early on, but I respect that.
Nothing is worse for a presenter than an audience peppered with people who'd rather be someplace else.
I felt good about it as we ended.
A few people had questions.
As I chatted and packed up, one woman pushed through.
She apologized for interrupting, explaining she had an appointment.
The she said, and I quote, "This was the best session I went to all day. Seriously. There was so much information I can actually use."
I thanked her and repeated "Seriously, you did a great job. This was the best session."
She repeated similar compliments a couple more times.
I blushed to the roots of my hair.
I felt confident it was a good session.
I knew I was well-prepared and had my sh&^ together.
But I would never have presumed to think mine was the best session someone attended.
That is so flattering.
More than that, though, it is really validating.
Presenting is not my greatest strength.
I'm good at it, but I believe I better at other things.
Of course, I work at it and I've gotten better, but it still isn't my forte.
To know that the material I presented was meaningful, really meaningful, is a truly good thing.
Not because of the ego boost, though that is nice.
It is a truly good thing because a teacher learned something they found valuable.
In this case, something about effective and efficient collaboration.
I'm still worried about what happened in my classroom last week, but I don't care.
It was worth it.