I am guilty, I freely admit, of being a conference curmudgeon. I am the home office dweller who when a colleague or superior suggests this conference or that smiles outwardly while inwardly cringing. Some of my concerns:
- What will happen to the piles of work while I am away? Will they miss me?
- Will my home office casual be sufficient, or must I purchase a wardrobe for this event?
- Will I have to network and be social? Can I hide in my room? Can I even afford a room?
- Will my boss judge my behavior? Will my boss behave badly?
- How much work time am I missing?
- Who will feed my kids? Who will feed my dogs? Who will feed my chickens?
All of these things speak to a deep anxiety which I first heard accurately described by my late english teacher, Mr. Davis, “Teachers are often shy people trying to shake themselves out of it.”
The more I have delved into online learning the more connected and yet reclusive I have become. And the more I have discovered, I need professional development. Because I no longer work amongst the real, I need the people whom I meet at conferences like D2L’s Fusion conference this week in Nashville. They engage me, they inspire me, they challenge me.
I was privileged to have a number of virtual colleagues at this conference whom I was able to meet for the first time. I was able to discuss my private concerns about platform and policy with others who get it. I giggled at cheesy presentations, built relationships with team members, and listened to country. As yes, I needed to set aside the seriousness and step back and be a part of a larger community again for a while to rejuvenate myself for another run at the serious business of teaching and learning.
So thanks to all whom I have met for helping me “shake myself out of it.” Thanks also to Barry (@D2LBarry) for surprising me at lunch today by mentioning the blog. I’ve had a ton of positive feedback which was really fun.
BTW-none of the awful imaginings mentioned at the beginning of the post have occurred…yet.
and PS. Honey if you are reading this – feed the chickens.