Lets just pretend it hasn’t been a month since I have posted and move forward as if I’m just continuing on with one of my previous blog posts.
Way back in January, I posted about coming back from the national journalism conference and feeling confident enough to start considering leading a session of my own at a future conference. Well, the time came much sooner than I thought. Our state conference was searching for speakers, and bursting with confidence from my encounters at the national conference, I gleefully and willingly entered my name into the mix to present.
As the school year often tends to do, it continued to run and run until it was the week before Spring Break, and I realized the time had come to actually prepare for the event. I put my PowerPoint together, pulled in a bunch of the work that my students have done over the years in newspaper and yearbook, and felt really good about the plan.
Until I didn’t.
I felt passionate about my subject, I was confident in the student work that we had produced over the years, and I really did think that other programs across the state could benefit from what I was going to share. Then the realization started to set in. What if nobody got anything from my talk?
I have been to 15 or 20 of these conferences over the years, and when I’m not monitoring my kids, I sit in on as many sessions as I can. The sessions I have attended ranged from illuminating to redundant. I hesitate to call any session I’ve ever been to “bad,” it is just that sometimes I end up going to something that I believe will key me in on new ideas, but really the speaker just ends up just telling me what I already knew.
I didn’t want to be that guy. I didn’t want a bunch of journalism students and advisers thinking they were coming into my session to learn this great new technique, and within minutes have them bored completely out of their minds because they already wrote these types of stories at their schools. I didn’t sleep for at least a week, and I imagined every terrible hypothetical scenario. What if nobody even showed up to my session? What if people started walking out because they were bored? What if other advisers walked in and belittled me due to the information I presented.
Of course, in the end, none of that happened. I presented, and not only did I not break down in a fit of anxiety, I think it actually went really well. My first session was standing room only, and I actually had to push some people away. It was a lot of me just talking and sharing, but I got some positive interaction from the students. My session repeated, so the crowd wasn’t as big for the second session, but I had another interactive group that included advisers from other schools across the state. The advisers seemed interested, they asked questions, and they seemingly left satisfied, and that was the biggest compliment I could have ever received.
If you had told me at the beginning of this school year that I would not only have felt comfortable volunteering to speak at something like this, let alone leave the conference feeling like I wanted to do it again, I would have thought you were crazy. I tend to shy away from individual praise due to my devotion to the idea of team and the power of we. However, it was really great for me to be able to step out of my comfort zone, and help others in the process.
Part of that shying away from personal glory is why it took me so long to write this post, even though the conference took place almost a month ago. I try to have some sort of greater meaning with every blog post I make, and if I really wanted to, I could come up with a few for this post, but they would mirror others I’ve already written and that isn’t really the point of this piece of writing. I guess that means that you have just read a post consisting of me bragging about myself.
Sorry about that! I promise I will be much more analytical and symbolic next time. And I’d like to think it will come in less than a month, so be prepared, and thanks for sticking with me through the long wait in between posts.