So I have to tell you, I hate the word “epic”. I hate that everybody and anybody just throws the word epic around with every association. But I have to admit, this past weekend was an EPIC FAIL. Yes, I typically am very hard on myself, but this weekend, I’m still scratching my head. How can this be so bad?
Just what could be so bad? This past weekend, I presented at a Superintendent’s Summit in the midwest. I consult form time to time (don’t worry, I won’t plug my book every 3 seconds or tell you to register for a conference every 3 tweets) and was contacted by a buddy from college who said “the group is in need a of crash course to get them to today’s times / 2.0”. I surveyed the group and got a myriad of results to form a light agenda. I created it, and took on a whole new approach.
Within 15 minutes, I knew is was in trouble. Do you remember a lesson that you did and about ten minutes into it you realized you need to completely change course? That was this; but a different vibe all together. Conferences and traveling workshops are suppose to be full of excitement; this was like a bingo hall with nobody winning bingo, just calling number after number with no results.
I encountered anger, frustration, and a negative tidal wave. Amongst other comments (within the first hour) include:
- What is a PLN?
- What is Twitter and really, who cares about it?
- Common Core is a waste
- All of this will pass
- When is lunch? How long is lunch?
- Do we have to do all of this?
My agenda was aggressive to say the least. I honestly got about ten percent done after seven hours of extensive, exhaustive dialogue. I was so wiped out that I did’t even venture out to really take in Denver or even meet up with members of my PLN (or the #NJED folks that were there at another conference).
Forget about Days 2 & 3 of the agenda; I was still trying to get maybe 30% of Day 1 completed.
I got back to my room Friday night and was completely baffled, angry, and felt like a complete failure. My presentation bombed. Big time. How could I be in this spot? Then I started thinking ….
I tell my students and teachers all of the time: FAIL = First Attempt In Learning.
Instead of beating myself up, I started to re-assess and create a new battle plan. I dug, messaged, voxed, and dug deep to find the arsenal of resources to use with this seasoned crowd. To be honest, I leaned a lot on being a Superintendent and that I can just relate. Not so much. Not even close.
I went back in Saturday morning, supercharged and super fierce. They saw me, and I saw them – – it at first it looked like a wild west stare-down (cue tumbleweed and this music:).
I guess the old boys club thought they scared me off. Little did they know that I’m a Jersey Boy… it takes a lot more than them to scare me off.
We went at it again. I weaved in take-aways, I demonstrated live chats, I even reached a consensus and gave them paper copies of some stuff.
The highlight of the day, that afternoon, a few quietly approached me and said thank you. They felt the actual papers in hand was something tangible they can bring back.
In all, it was no where near what I wanted it to be, but I have to realize that we are all different learners (something that I preach) and that some of us learn the crockpot way (low-n-slow). I guess I need to read (and follow) my own stuff more often!