Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I failed.

So, failure is supposed to be an okay thing, right? Well, I failed.

And it's taken me months to actually sit down and type this blog post that I've been ruminating on since November of 2015.

I'm embarrassed. I failed.

And in my childhood AND my adult life, I don't typically do activities or engage in subjects in which I'll fail.

Again, embarrassment.  Horror.  Oh, the horror!


In the last two years, I've tried to immerse myself in things in which I'm not going to be the best.  I have tried to remind myself that the process of learning is about the PROCESS not the DESTINATION.  I've been trying to practice throwing myself into learning whether I am going to rock it or not.

And so I took up woodworking.  I was NOT good, but I learned. (I wrote lots of posts about this experience at the Soulcraft Woodshop previously.)  This has permeated into the rest of my life as I am less afraid to take apart machines at our house, more willing to use tools and fix things, and even more willing to talk to the people at Home Depot and Lowe's when I need something.

Another thing I decided to do was exercise more.  In the past, this was a major priority in my life, but in the last five years, I gave up.

So, off I went to a spinning class.

Not JUST a spinning class, but a spinning class IN THE DARK.

At the first class, my only goal was "do not throw up."

At my second class, I expanded my goals to include "do not throw up" and "do not stop pedaling."

Over a year and 30 pounds have gone by, and now I am able to get through an entire class following all of the directions.  Sure, I can't typically walk very well the next day, but I can do it.  I learned.

With these two experiences, I started slowly.  I muddled through the skills.  But, I made it out on the other side.

With this other thing... I failed...

Look, I'm even stalling here by NOT getting to the point, right?

Okay, here's the story.

I started a Makers' Club at my school which has been (dare I say) WILDLY successful.  And I wanted to tell other people about it.  So, I applied to present about it in several places.  Sure, some places turned me down, but I don't consider that a failure. I just wasn't what they were looking for.

But then, I applied to give an "IDEA Talk" at the WVIZ Ideastream Technology and Learning Conference.  Educators from all over North East Ohio often flock to this conference and network with each other and I had yet to attend.

But, in previous years, I had given several of my male teacher friends a hard time about this conference.  Where are the women presenters?  What's the deal with the all male panel discussions?  Why aren't the ladies ever included in these events?

After saying all that, I HAD to apply, right?

So, I did.  And I was accepted.  Three people were chosen to give these "IDEA Talks" at the conference and they would be posted online afterwards.

I waited a ridiculously lengthy amount of time to write down what I was planning to say, even though I had been chewing on it for quite some time.  I knew I wanted to talk about the Makers' Club and I wanted to discuss how to include and attract both girls and those with disabilities.  I wanted to integrate my passion for working with those with special needs with the technology and "making" that we were experiencing every week in our Makers' Club.  I wanted to convey the passion I felt about integrating and including ALL kids while still being relevant to my topic.

And I failed.

Well wait.  First, I wrote a great blog post.  I call it a "blog post" and NOT a speech because, as it turns out, it was a WAY better piece of writing than a speech.

Maybe I didn't understand the time constraints.

Maybe I thought they would let me keep talking until I was done.

Maybe I didn't understand that I was modeling this after the "TED Talks" that I love and admire so much.

Maybe I'm just NOT a great speaker.

Anyways, once it was over, I was reflecting.  I didn't get to finish because I was getting the "wrap it up" signal for at least 5 minutes and I still had at least 6 more minutes worth of things to say.

I also felt like I was trying to have a discussion with people who were there to hear a lecture.

Did I convey my passion?  I had no idea.

Did I inspire ANYone?  I had no idea.

But then, when colleagues from my own school did not stop to talk to me after the conference was over, I thought, "I must've really stunk. Really, really stunk."

I reflected on it more and decided that I am just a better writer than a speaker.

I'm sure no one would be surprised by this.

But here's how I really knew I failed.

I had been waiting for the "talks" to be posted online on the WVIZ Ideastream page.  I checked it often.

Then, as I saw the other talks were posted, I scrolled down the page.

"Where's mine?" I thought to myself.

And then I remembered.

Before the "talks" started, I had said to the person in charge, "If mine is really bad, can you NOT post it online?"

And mine was not (and is not) posted online.

I failed.

I've been embarrassed about it since November....

But here's the good news.

Since then, I've given the same presentation again, ONLY it was a one HOUR time slot AND it was a discussion, a conversation, NOT a lecture.  (It was better.)

Then I gave it again, in a 90 minute window.  And embedded some of the "makers" activities.  (And it was even better.)

And so I failed.

But I also learned.

And I'm done being embarrassed.

So now, go to the WVIZ Ideastream page.  And see how my talk is not posted.  And don't wonder about it.  Know that I failed.

And then, know that I learned.


Stephanie DeMichele said...

You're so brave, Morgan! And you're a total failure--as you've defined and re-purposed it. Love this! Thanks for sharing it.

Janet DeSenzo said...

It would ONLY have been a failure if you hadn't learned from the process! Well done! Well written! Keep leading!

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