9,999 Hours Away From Being an Expert

Yesterday I made my first presentation to a group of teachers. I led a session about integrating technology into the Social Studies Classroom at the Connecticut Council of Social Studies Annual Conference. I left very excited, not about my presentation, but about how much I learned about presenting this topic to adults. If it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in something, I have 9,999 more presentations before I become an expert in making this presentation. What is amazing is even though I have been teaching 13 year olds for 20 years, this presentation still made me feel like I was up in front of a class of kids for the very first time. The clock was not my friend. I realized that the first part of my plans that were suppose to last 5 minutes, was taking 20. At the 45 minute mark I realized that there was no way I was getting to what I considered the best part and the “highlights” of session. I also wish I had given out some kind of quick feed back form—right now the only thing in my head is what I thought went good and bad, which might be totally opposite of what the audience thought.

I would like to encourage everyone to consider sharing their passion at an upcoming conference. If you hadn’t noticed, there seems to be fewer and fewer classroom (or ex-classroom) teachers presenting—or has it always been this way and I am just starting to notice. Too many teachers tend to be afraid to share what they are great at doing, and that fear shaped my presentation. Last June Karenne Sylvester left a comment on one of my posts that stuck out for me: “All too often we spend ages thinking about the ways we’re not good enough without thinking of all the ways we shine.” So true. I ended up sticking to a more “nuts-and-bolts” presentation on tools rather than the powerful work my kids have done with them. By the time I relaxed and realized what I was doing there were five minutes left and I actually said “Do you mind if I brag about something great that my kids do.”

I have a few more proposals in for conferences this year. I really wish I had had the courage years ago to submit proposals. I would have many more hours under my belt on my way to becoming an expert. Even if my other three get accepted, I will still have 9,996 more presentations to go 😉

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