February 5, 2016

7:45 am: Woo-hoo! I am at the Ed Tech Coaches Network “Digital Learning Services” workshop today, ready to learn about Chromebook implementation to assist teachers in guiding student learning. I will check in briefly about my take-aways!

Update 12:30 p.m: Well, I got to the meeting an hour and a half early because I thought it started at 8 a.m…oops. However, once everyone arrived, I learned so much about the issues that information services and technology personnel need to deal with at the meeting. They had an open Google Doc agenda!

I learned that the issues we are experiencing with the Chromebook implementation and 1:1 technology adoption are not unique to us as a district or department. Nobody is really an expert and everyone is just trying to stay afloat and learn the basics that they need to know. One woman shared that many of us are “digital immigrants” while the students are “digital natives” who are already familiar with our education technology and understand it much better. We were advised to be open to allowing students to assist us.

So…I’m going to be vulnerable right now and get personal. Let me just say that I am amazed at the professionalism of my colleagues in the educational field but I feel insecure around these prolific thinkers and doers on the cutting edge of changing our children’s educational future.

I am not an ed tech coach; I am an instructional coach. But I feel more like “just” a teacher, like a new recruit in the military hanging out with the top brass or Commander in Chief. I just feel like I need to get this out, so if I have lost you already, I will not hold it against you for clicking somewhere else right now.

I’m going to pour my heart out right now and just reveal all of my insecurities in case it might help someone else in my position, or a similar position. I have never heard anyone talk about the self-doubt and self-consciousness someone feels transitioning to a higher level position, except for one individual. I remember our Cognitive Coaches training where Alex showed us the video by Ms. Cudhy (I think it was Amy Cudhy, but I’m not sure) and she discussed “faking it until you become it.” I felt like I would be surrounded by important people and so I actually did do the 2-minute “power pose” in the rest room before I settled in at the conference table.

But I felt more like, will these people notice that my iPad, phone, and laptop are smudged and dirty because I have kids and I don’t even have time to clean the car that I spend hours commuting in each day?

Will they know that my “pearls” were purchased at Wal-Mart, three bracelets for $1.00?

Will I slip up and say something I’m not supposed to say, like I did that one time when I overheard confidential information that I didn’t know was confidential when I was typing something up for an administrator in his office at my school site? (Boy, he was mad!) I leave every meeting feeling like, “what will they think of me? They will know I’m wasn’t supposed to be there, that I was faking it.”

(Update 2:18 p.m: Yes, I did say something I was not supposed to say and have been working for an hour to remedy my error. I seem to have no discretion. Just don’t tell me secrets or confidential information because I don’t even know how to keep a secret.)

I don’t have money. My salary is generous, but everything is gone by the end of the month with kids and a house and a commute. I have no time either. At lunch, I scarf down a Michelina’s (fomerly Budget Gourmet) microwave lunch that sells 10 for $5.00 on sale.

I rarely join colleagues who are eating out for lunch, though I know doing so would improve my networking skills and help me to better get to know them. My hair was cut at Great Clips for $14, and I dye my own hair at home in the bathtub with the kids’ plastic stacking cups and Hot Wheels cars  and empty VO5 shampoo bottles from the 99 Cent Only store falling all over the place.

When I get into a colleague’s Audi or BMW or Lexus, I notice plush leather seats with seat warmers, individual climate control, movie screens and cameras. When they get into my (filthy) Kia, they notice the trash bag with soda cups from Circle K and twenty empty water bottles rolling around under their feet.But they are always kind and polite about it, pretending not to notice.

I don’t mean to sound like all I care about is money. I know a person’s worth isn’t measured by their paycheck, clothes, or car. I just would like to share that there are protocols and customs and etiquette that people like me, growing up in poverty, may not be aware of or feel fully able to participate in.

For example, what do you do when you meet someone new? So I met a Program Manager from another district at a conference. I briefly spoke with him and told him I would be at his site the next week for an unrelated meeting. He said, “Be sure to drop by and say hello. I am on the second floor.”

So I went by and the receptionists (gatekeepers) left for like five minutes and claimed he was off site for a few days. Was that true? Was I really just supposed to nod and say, “yes, I will definitely stop by” and just forget about it? Do people mean what they say in the administrative world? I suppose these questions might apply to the corporate or political environment. But as I left the office and descended in the elevator, I thought, “did I just look like a stalker?”

Another administrator I met at the conference last week smiled and invited me to lunch and said if I ever move to San Diego, she would be happy to have me at her site. But what does that really mean? Am I supposed to take this friendly conversation as a networking opportunity? I have thank you cards at my desk right now and I don’t know whether to send them. Is that weird and creepy to follow up with some one who happened to extend some courtesy to me?

Are you not supposed to eat lunch at your desk when there are other people in the office? No one else is eating in here. Today I just feel like I am faking it, not making it, not becoming it. I feel like I don’t know how to help others because I don’t even know how to fit in myself. Just my thoughts for the day. How do you deal? Have you always been around people with power and influence? Do you buy sport coats at the thrift store and hope that no one notices? Do you mess up and say things you’re not supposed to say? Or is it just me?

Thank goodness we have a long weekend ahead. 😦







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