Sunday, April 5, 2015

Out Of The Storage Box To Conquer A Fear!

Photo Credit: Carrie Can via Compfight cc

  It was inevitable! I knew I'd have to face my fear! 
 At some point, I knew that I would present at a technology conference of some sort because of my responsibilities as an Edmodo Ambassador. But, I've been able to stay in storage (hidden away) for several years. I'm not an instructional tech person, staff developer, PD mentor, or anything of the sort. I'm a classroom teacher.  Sure, I occasionally help teachers in my school with the tech that I learn, but nothing is very formal.  I'm not afraid to teach or talk in front of an audience. In fact, that's always been something that I've enjoyed. So my extreme nervousness about presenting at a conference was unexpected.

On some level, I wanted to take on the challenge of presenting at a tech conference. But, my heart skipped a beat when I was invited to present at UCET- Utah's tiny version of ISTE. As the conference date drew closer, I became more and more nervous! What had I just agreed to?

My FEAR was presenting with tech about tech to tech people! 

Photo Credit: Lili Vieira de Carvalho via Compfight cc

Edmodo provided a Powerpoint for me. I knew my content well. Why was I so nervous? Why couldn't I sleep or eat? Why was my stomach in knots?

I've integrated a lot of web tools and apps into my teaching. I know to always have a plan B, C, and even D just in case the technology doesn't work. I live every day in the space of not knowing exactly what will happen.  I fail many times and keep going- keep learning- keep pushing myself. But, presenting to adults was a different kind of challenge.  I had nightmares of the tech not working and of me trying to continue presenting.

Fortunately for me, I have the best PLN in the world! I reached out to them for every step of the way. They delivered! I'm not sure that I could have been successful without their tips, resources, and support!

The night before the UCET conference, I was sick with FEAR! There were technology issues the first day of the conference. The more problems that I heard about, the more my stomach churned. My laptop was also giving me problems. Stress! I arrived early Friday morning so that I would have plenty of time to prepare.

I don't know about you, but I believe there are angels amongst us- people that come into our life at just the right time to help us. There, sitting in the room with his wife, was my angel. He had presented in the same room on the first day. He was just making sure that everything was ready to go for his next presentation directly following my presentation. Knowing how nervous I was, he offered to help me set up and showed me how to work all of the tech in the room. He was a gift!

Once the tech was working, I calmed down considerably. Now it was just a matter of setting up my pirate props, playing some music, and getting into the right frame of mind. I dug out my iPad and read some of my favorite quotes from Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess.  I could feel the confidence building inside me. I tweeted out that I had 30 minutes before I presented for the first time. Once again, my PLN (including Dave Burgess) cheered me on! Twenty minutes before my presentation, I stood outside the door to the classroom to be ready to greet the teachers that came to my workshop. I didn't have to of course, but they gave me more energy! Engaging with people before the presentation relaxed me and I had fun meeting everyone. The rest, as they say, is history!

I had a BLAST! 
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The teachers that I trained were wonderful! Some were extremely techy, some were conquering their own fears of using any technology, and most were somewhere in the middle. We learned together! Yes, I had more experience using Edmodo. But they contributed to the conversation, and I learned a lot because of them.

I admire people that have confidence to use technology to make and present beautiful, inspiring presentations for professional development. I'm learning.....slowly! I hope that some day that I can reach that level. Maybe I'll never present a keynote, but I want to have the skills. Conquering this fear is a step towards reaching a higher goal.

What I Learned:
  • You can't let the fear of failure stop you from progressing.
  • Being a connected educator raises the bar of excellence. Mediocrity and the status quo are not tolerated. But, a PLN supports you in ways you can't even imagine!
  • I can do more and achieve more. I need more faith in myself.
  • I learned that I have a little flame of passion for presenting and teaching teachers in me. This is what I want to do! 


  1. Sandy,
    what an inspiring post!! Presenting can be nerve wracking (I did my first big presentation this year too:). Sounds like you nailed it and had the support of Dave and your PLN. Thanks for being such a great role model and risk taker! Your students are lucky to have you!

  2. You should feel so proud of yourself for not letting your anxiety get the best of you. That is an experience to share with your students! And hooray for the Twitter PLN!