So I have been playing around the last 24 hours with a post idea and in my best procrastinating stance I have decided that rather than marking (I have a ton to do) or planning (lots of that too) I am just going to get this post done.
A few months back I submitted to present at Nerd Camp Michigan. It happens in the summer and I thought it would be a good way for me to over come the fear I have of public speaking. Well last week friends and contacts all over the internet were sharing their excited messages about being accepted to present, I checked my inbox and aside from some mailing list emails I have never bothered unsubscribing to there was nothing. It was a little disappointing but at the same time a relief because I proposed presenting on something that I have yet to try. A journey my grade 8 class is going to go on to discover the power of inquiry learning in a literacy world. We will see what happens.
Then just yesterday on top of discovering that there will be some major changes at the school that I am needing to take a surprising amount of time to process and stop stressing about (not a change guy) I received an email that another attempt to present at a conference on a topic I find interesting was denied. The Nerd Camp experience repeated itself as countless friends posted about how excited they were about their topics being selected. Some along the lines of what I was hoping to share on and some on topics that I was shocked are even being suggested. But here we are, disappointed and wondering what about the ideas I presented were not interesting enough to the selection committees. I took a moment thought Darn it and then focused on what learning could be done. I read a wonderful message from Kylene Beers and other messages from friends all around and felt lifted up.
I can't help but connect this to the classroom, to teaching in general. Sometimes things don't go our way. There is a million reasons why this could happen and should we always focus on finding the needle in the haystack or should be celebrate the opportunities to learn and grow. A bad lesson does not mean we look to blame it on all these outside factors we can't control, it means we reflect on what we can. Our students need to be clear on this as well. We can only control a tiny number of possible outcomes so why do we focus so much on the ones we really can't? I think part of it is intended to make us feel better but I felt way better yesterday after hearing words of support than I did in the initial moments expressing frustration and blame.
It is a lesson we can live by, it is ok to start in a mindset of "darn it" but take those moments quickly and shift to a mindset of "What can I learn?" Opening our minds to that thinking and then taking those steps will always get us a lot farther along than being stuck in a rut.
Speaking of forward steps, feeling a little motivation so off to get some work done. Looking forward to booking my NCTE trip early and planning to see all my amazing friends to cheer them on. :)