Saturday was it.
It was the big day.
It was a HUGE BIG GIGANTIC check off of my list and goals of things I wanted to do this year!
Saturday was the day I spoke of my very first conference, the Nice Mini Con 2014.
I drove to the conference cursing. The salt and snow and mess splashed on the window of my car. The running out of windshield wiper fluid light blinked at me. I hoped I wouldn’t have to stop to fill it up. It would be just my luck to present my first conference covered in windshield wiper fluid.
My stomach churned with nerves.
I ate my breakfast and drank my water. I would get my coffee right before I got to the conference. Yes…it would also be just my luck that my coffee would drip drip drip, leaving me with an oh so attractive and professional coffee stain somewhere unhideable. I went through the script of my sessions in my head. Before I knew it was there and coffee and windshield wiper fluid stain free! I checked in and found my way to the room I was presenting at.
I quickly set up my laptop and hooked it up to the projector. It didn’t work…I took a deep breath and called the tech support. A man came in smiling and ready to help me. With a quick cord change and a joke about us both getting the brown boot memo my nerves were starting to settle. My phone buzzed. It was a text from my husband, “Don’t be nervous…you’re teaching them. Just have fun.” He was right. All I needed to do was teach. Teach, just like I’d been doing for 15 years. Just like I did everyday… I just need to share with them my passion for education, special education and technology’s ability to impact and change student’s lives.
Before I knew it it was time for my first session…Using Google Calendar To Organize Your Classroom and Your Students. My legs shaked as I introduced myself and started. Before I knew it the nerves had passed and I was energized with the questions, the learning and the back-and-forth between me and the audience. I was filled with the happiness that my session had taught others how they could use Google Calendars in a classroom, for themselves and more importantly for their students.
Next session up was Using Google Forms for Data Collection and Behavior Modification. Still floating on happiness from the first session, new nerves started to flutter. I was still new to Google Forms. I was new to using them in my own classroom. I was worried that my inexperience would impact my confidence.
The session went just as well as the first one. I was at home with my peers, fellow special education teachers, who share the same experiences and challenges. I knew they would use these forms the same way I did. Ready to share information and ideas with my session audience, instead it quickly became a sharing of ideas, a this is what I do my classroom, an exchange of possibilities and forms potential…it was invigorating.
My session ended. I gathered my things and started to walk down the hallway to get some coffee. I saw another attendee, one of my fellow presenters, a fellow teachers my own district and smiled at the familiar face. She asked me how it went and I shared with her my happiness and asked her how her session went.
“Where are you going for the last session?” she asked.
“I think I am just going to decompress, take a break and take it all in. I want to get a cookie and some coffee first,” I smiled eyeing her cookie.
Balancing cookie in hand I called my husband to share with him how things had gone. I walked to find a place to sit sharing with him my happiness, giddiness and how proud I was of myself. I fought to hold back the silly, sobbing, messy tears of happiness that welled inside…. because I had fought my nerves, my stomach, my shaking knees, the words of “this is not important”, “nobody is going to value this”, “no one is going to show up”, “this isn’t going to matter to anybody” and I took a deep breath and I jumped off that cliff. I took the risk to do something that terrified me and it was worth it!