As I mentioned previously, I presented at TIE for the first time this year (on blogging, RSS, and social bookmarking). The session went okay. As usual, I didn't get finished (I had designed it for a 3-hour session, and then ended up giving me a 2-hour session.) I was hoping to at least give them enough exposure to these tools so that they would know enough about whether they wanted to pursue using them in their classrooms and - if so - give them some resources to get started. I'm not sure if I accomplished that or not, but I gave it a shot. As I told some folks afterward, if they're willing to spend some time going through the links I collected, they can learn in four to five hours what took me about a year to figure out.
But the reason for this post is not to describe the session. As those of you who know me can attest, I'm usually a fairly confident guy (some would say too confident) and I've taught various staff development classes in my building and my district. But for some reason I got really, really nervous about presenting at TIE. I think I really psyched myself out and I've been trying to figure out why. Part of it is of course not knowing the folks you are presenting to. I also think part of it was realizing how much these people were paying to attend TIE (or their districts were paying) and worrying that I might be wasting their time (for some reason I don't worry about that in my building!).
While both of those contributed to my nervousness, I think in the end it was knowing I was presenting on something that was somewhat controversial. That I would be asking them to really take a hard look at what they were doing in their classrooms and suggest that maybe they should change what they are doing. And that gets to the heart of what a teacher is and I think I was concerned that - coming from someone they don't know at all - it might sound preachy and a little obnoxious. Even though I'm doing the same exploring of ideas and suggesting that maybe change is necessary in my own building, somehow there's a comfort level when you're doing that with people who know you and generally like and respect you (Arapahoe folks, please don't correct me if this is not accurate).
I think I need to remember that feeling when I'm asking folks in my own building to blog about ideas in their personal blogs, or when we ask students to produce and present information for a wider audience. I still think those are really good and necessary things to do, and that it's essential for our students to master this to be successful in the 21st century. But maybe I need to be a little more patient with folks that aren't comfortable enough yet to move at the speed - and with the transparency - I'd like them to.
Oh, 21c teachers, don't worry, I'll be back to my usual confident and obnoxious self when we begin meeting again in August.