I had such a busy week last week that I got behind here on my blog. I attended the COSA conference on Thursday and Friday and presented on Friday. I led a workshop session that is uncommon and not usual at these types of events, and I had 15 participants. It was a conference for mostly administrators, but I led a workshop for mostly teachers. I had many preschool teachers in the session, which I found was interesting. One principal came, and she had eaten breakfast next to me the first day, and that seemed like such a kind thing to do.
The keynote speaker, Jessica Cabeen, spoke right before me. Her talk was focused on balance. She’s written two books, Hacking Early Learning and Balance Like a Pirate, both on Amazon. She was all about balance. She challenged us to do our best for students, and to take care of ourselves.
The day before I’d attended a math workshop for students that are falling behind, and a workshop on “Behavior, Brain, and Social-Emotional Development.” It was interesting how much of what is my big passion is also other people’s passion.
During my presentation I was disgustingly nervous. I felt the breath behind my voice catch in my throat like it was closing up. It was terrifying and I was very obviously nervous. I felt a bit like an idiot, and all my preparation seemed to go out the window.
That said, I had things to share. I showed them my presentation, and the several videos I showed none of them had seen before. It was great to share what happens in the body during any emotional response and how the chemical reactions from emotions affect us on a cellular level, using a clip from What the Bleep Do We Know. It was shocking that literally not one had seen it before. Then I shared a clip my colleagues just recently shared with me from Michael Jr. on “Knowing Your Why,” and another from “Cosmic Kids Zen Den.” It all completely got through to them. I then gave them permission to do Choose Your Own Gratitude Adventure in any way that was meaningful for them. The guidance was to consider the people in our life that have helped us to get to where we are now, and I gave them archetypes to consider. I explained the Nourishing Healer, Grounded Caretaker, Adventure Seeker, Expert Practitioner, Creative Ignitor.
Three participants sat together and visited, clearly from the same school/district, and one wrote a thank you letter. That was all they wanted to do. I went over after about a half hour into the work time and said, “I want you to know that I validate your experience in the way that you need it. It’s perfectly fine to do this the way you need to do it.” They smiled, said thanks, kept talking. One participant had so much personal pain going on in her life that she couldn’t make anything, but talking to me about it made her feel better. She cried several times as we were talking, and as she wiped tears away talking about the loss she’s been experiencing, I asked if she needed a hug. She warmly accepted one.
Many participants made things to bring back to their work spaces, and it felt good. It just felt right, and I had calmed down completely and walked around talking quietly to individuals. They were so gracious to me, and none mentioned the terrified state I’d been in during the first 10 minutes of class.
I know that I need to spend much more time putting myself out there and working on sharing my knowledge, my experience, my leadership. The kind principal I met from Cottage Grove challenged me in a way that no one ever has before. She is in her 3rd year as an administrator, and she explained to me that being a principal is a way to affect change in a more substantial way, to serve more people, to be a supportive leader to more people.
It’s time to consider leveling up. And it’s time to do much more public speaking.
THIS IS NOT MY COMFORT ZONE! But no one grows if they stay in status quo.