When your best isn’t good enough

It’s great to see the conversations and sharing continue after the edcamps over the weekend.  Motivated educators trying out new things and some new bloggers appearing.  You can’t help but feel happy.

Honestly, that’s easy to find – people that are happy with the experience and learning like to share and others like to reshare.  But, there’s another group.  There are some that are just quiet.  It’s always tough to read into this.  Are they quiet because reality has kicked in and noses are back to the grindstone?  Are they quiet because they don’t have an opinion?  Are they quiet because they’re unhappy and just don’t want to stand out with their opinions?

Last night, as I was doing some work, my friend @SheilaSpeaking was sending out links to blog posts and I was reading them.  There was one that stood out and I had to read it a few times.  It was from a person who wasn’t happy with parts of the edcamp, including my presentation.  It’s not that I think I have a thin skin but there were some legitimate concerns expressed in the post.

As I had mentioned in a previous post, there were a few Plan Bs that were in place to make the edcamp in Tilbury work.  I’m not sure how things were on the other end.  As I was setting up, I realized that I had left my computer remote control at home and I knew exactly where it was – I had been practicing for my talk and set it down on my desk.  It didn’t get packed.

I did want to practice before going live.  When @Cowpernicus and I had originally planned, the talk was going to be about something that I’ve very passionate about – taking control over your own professional learning, reading, sharing, connecting, building, …  It was a presentation that I’d be comfortable giving to my peers and what I gave at ECOO.  They expect the nerdy/technical from me.  This audience was a bit different and so I planned to tone it down a bit.

Then, there was the time thing.  I was supposed to go from 1:00 to 2:00.  On the Tilbury end, the organizers decided to delay the start until a group that had gone for lunch returned.  From reading this post, it was a 19 minute delay.  It didn’t seem to be a problem in Tilbury as everyone was busy chatting and sharing away.  So, once we got started, I had lost that time.  There are two things that you really should honour – remember to start on time and remember to end on time.  So, on the fly, I tried to save some time to make sure that I ended right at 2.  There were things that fell to the wayside.

It was a little bizarre speaking to a live audience and to another group further up the 401.  I couldn’t see the other end so had to rely on the visual feedback from the group right in front of me.

At the end, I did feel pretty good about things.  There were lots of new followers on Twitter and great conversations and feedback from the folks at the school.

The one thing that nobody noted but I’m incredibly self-conscious about are my arms.  I swear that, if I had feathers, I could take off.  It’s a part of me that I can’t come to grips with.  They’re always moving.  I’ve tried the usual tips – put one hand if a pocket, hold a pen in one hand, put my arms behind my back – nothing works to date.  If you have a suggestion, I’d love to hear it.

As I read the blog post, it’s obvious that there were concerns.  It would be easy to ignore and move on but it would be hypocritical to not learn from them.  Points noted.

5 thoughts on “When your best isn’t good enough

  1. I enjoyed this post. I can’t comment on the issue itself because I didn’t see the live link up (sorry) but definitely understand your feelings, “when your best isn’t good enough”. You were self aware and did what you could, but you can’t always please everyone, I’ve experienced that myself.


  2. Thanks to Brian Aspinall, I feel a great deal better. He replied on the original post and I was actually scheduled to start at 1:15 and not 1:00 as I had thought. That makes the delayed start time 4 minutes instead of 19. Much easier to handle!


  3. I appreciate that you considered Robin’s post, Doug, and that you were not too offended by the post or that I shared it into the #edcampldn stream. Robin contributed to the day and I thought she was very brave for sharing what she felt and observed. It is easy to share the positive, but I didn’t want Robin’s voice to get missed. I trust you will both learn more from each other ahead.

    I was glad to catch you virtually while I was in S. Ont. last weekend. I was charging my phone while waiting for you to go live 🙂 Thanks for supporting and connecting the conversations.


  4. Well, yes, I was offended. This was a talk that I’ve wanted to give for a long time and probably put as much thought into it as I have done for any presentation and then to read it on her blog, including a picture, but not my name? But, that’s personal and while I may not like it, I respect her right to blog about it.

    I’m more concerned for the organizers who put so much time and effort in pulling this together. I know that the organizers in both camps were upset. In an edcamp setting, traditionally you don’t stop everything for something like that but they went out on a limb for doing that. I think that recognizing that would have been important.

    Equally as important to all is how teachers approach their own professional learning. In format and by delivery, that should have been the biggest takeaway from the day. I think more people need to stop and consider just how demanding the teaching profession is and how important continuous learning is crucial to success.

    I think that all who attended should be commended for giving up a lovely Saturday to put eight hours towards their own personal learning and commitment to the profession.


  5. Parents can be blunt, but I think those who are interested and attend such edcamps (as well as other education events in the evenings or weekends) do recognize the planning, commitment, and the demands of the profession. I believe many also attend in support of teachers and schools.

    I think the questions we may be really wrestling with is if parents have a place and can have appropriate participation and inclusion in edcamps. If the focus is teacher PD, where do parents and community members fit in? Maybe there continues to be confusion about this for edcamps in general, not just these recent ones. Are they about community conversations regarding education, or more for teachers to share practices and resources? I guess it would depend on the participants, but there is a “voting” process and it may be difficult to capture everyone’s interests. Should there be separate parent edcamps? I have seen some planning those in the Twitter conversations.

    I am not asking these questions to criticize, but just to understand and help me decide if I want to help organize one (a first one) in the Thunder Bay area. I can see how important it is to consider audience, participants, and purpose and still maintain flexibility. These may be even be harder to organize than a conference 🙂

    Overall, it sounds like there were plenty of positive outcomes and gratitude for the two connected edcamps last weekend.


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