There is only one chance…
To make a first impression.
Today I was on a conference call about something very important to me. Something that is perhaps up there as something that may actually make my obituary. Important.
A person on the call opened his mouth and I realized that the person was confused and didn't even know what he was talking about. My life-impacting thing-a-ma-what-chy hadn't even been read by him and he was winging it. I was upset and my first reaction was to pounce. (yes, me.)
But then I got ahold of myself. Who do I think I am? This guy probably has a desk six feet under with obituary-making life works. Everyone clamoring for his attention. He was young and seemed eager but maybe overwhelmed.
Who do I think I am?
I know who I want to be.
I want to be an encourager who helps and teaches. Instead of looking down my nose at him- oh he who seemed to fall short- I should realize that I should be more concerned about my own behavior. I should care more about making a first impression of professionalism and caring for his problems and struggles than my own. For if I can help him solve his problems, he can help me solve mine and we can create mutually beneficial possibilities! We can win together.
This, my friends, is ISTE, the monstrously big convention for educational technologists from around the world.
ISTE is stressful. It makes me incredibly nervous but it probably makes others nervous too. So nervous and exhausting that I doubt any of us are at our 100% best. But when we are together and learn we become better and that is good enough.
We don't have to be at our best to get better at what we do. We can laugh and learn and make this place the kind of learning environment that we want for our students.
For me, the best ISTE's are those where enough people put others first. Where we care more about hearing than being heard. Where we care more about being friendly than in getting new friends. Where we look at people and realize that they are just people.
I hate the term “rock star.” Not when it refers to a real “rock star” like Beyonce, but when it is used in flattery. None of us are rock stars, people. Most of us are just teachers. We love our students. We want to be better teachers. I don't care if we have 290 or 29,000 followers.
I admire the real people. But really, we are all just real people. I have found that most often, those that act aloof or distant are either tired, overwhelmed, or both. The people that don't say “hi” usually done see us.
What I'd like to see is some random acts of kindness. The little things are the big things. Like when Jim Gates came and loaned me the use of his wireless cell modem when the network crashed! Or maybe when I saw a friend bring another some coffee. Or when a speaker is gracious to another person.
What on earth does this do-gooder-ish nonsense have to do with change, Vicki?
Change is about working with people. Think about how nervous you feel before ISTE – that is how nervous most people feel about technology.
Think how you feel when you are left out? More of my readers will NOT be at ISTE than are there! If I can be kind and inclusive to my friends that aren't there and share -then learning is multiplied.
If you love technology and hate people-you're in the wrong business.
But, I think, if you can go to a monstrous convention like ISTE and amidst the hubbub you can find a way to be considerate, helpful, and inclusive of those there and not there-then you are exercising your people-muscles.
I would also like to ask that we put our foot down about having some good old fashioned manners. I shouldn't have gone into the keynote because I couldn't stay the whole time and so I had to leave early. The problem was that probably over half the audience left early. It was rude. People were rude in Twitter. Digital citizenship was on vacation.
We are supposed to be educators. We are and should be the nobility of our generation- not because of our pocketbooks but our behavior.
When we behave rudely we give away our nobility.
Be respectful of everyone. Speakers have feelings. The audience exudes energy and when you leave, even if it is for a valid reason, you suck momentum from the room -the keynoter starts second guessing.
Some of you are going to start justifying the vote with your feet thing, go ahead but I'm not buying it. There are ways to communicate without being rude. Let's learn. If you are the expert on everything, why are you at ISTE anyway?
For me, I am exhausted now and I haven't even packed. But I know that I will learn a lot and there are many of you who will give me insight that will be invaluable.
The most important thing at ISTE11 is not the technology- it is the people. Let's remember that. Good manners, random acts of kindness (stop rolling your eyes), and sharing meaningfully with those who are not there- these are things we can do to improve the conference and our profession.
Let's bring social skills to social media at ISTE this year.
– Posted using BlogPress from Vicki's iPad
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