Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sunday Night Nerves

TeachaKidd, Lee Kolbert, tweeted this evening about presentation nerves and over planning. She said:"Ever feel like the "audience" of your next presentation will already know everything you're going to share with them & will all walk out?" I of course @ replied her that yes, I'd certainly felt that way. I feel that way now, anticipating tech workshops I'm slated to give soon.

I have felt that way in the past, presenting teacher workshops at Janet Allen's literacy institutes. During the institutes when the teachers who worked for Janet were out on the road, she used to tell us not to think that way. Not to feel that what we had to say was old hat or passé. We were/are readers. We were/are reflective teachers. We had ideas to share. She reassured us as we developed our teacher voices and our craft--she gave us more than just voice, but a platform for sharing. The literacy institutes forged my teaching philosophies and practices. What kind of teacher would I have been without Janet and "the Geese?"

For nearly 12 summers I traveled with Janet. At last count, I did teacher workshops in 20 states. Perhaps that doesn't qualify me for expert status, but some summers I was on the road for a full 8 weeks. Home on Thursday nights and out on Sunday mornings. We aren't traveling anymore, but I can remember those Sunday night jitters as we gathered to talk about the work at hand. I remember what it feels like to over plan and to wonder if your audience will be walk-out, know-it-alls.

They never are though, are they? If we truly are teachers and learners then we all have something to share. We all have something to learn.


  1. Thank you for your insight. You are right that we all have something to share and something to learn. I do feel that way when I'm sitting in someone else's presentation but I can't help over-thinking my own presenations. I feel that I owe my "audience" the freshest and most dynamic material and often times I think I'm not the person they came to see. I need to build my confidence more and by listening to the voices of those around me (like you) I find myself getting closer to that goal.

    Thank you.

  2. How I needed this post (as I look at the reams of materials I'm trying to fuse together in advance of BLC 09). I think part of it for me is the tension of my technology skills/"know-how" against my insights as a literacy teacher. I'm not the most technolgically savvy person in the room (as is the case in any k-12 classroom that I work in), but I do know a lot as a reader, writer, teacher of readers, teacher of writers... That's where I think we bring the most important pieces to the discussion. Your post came at just the right time... :)

  3. Thank you, Lee, for such a nice compliment. The voices around me in my PLN inspire me and you are certainly one of those!

    Sara, your comment about bing a literacy teacher hit home with me. I am sure that I'm not nearly as tech savvy as you are, but like you, I do know something about teaching readers and writers. That is where it all comes together for me most days too. Good luck with BLC 09 and enjoy the conversations!


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