It’s officially been ONE week this morning since I was on stage, microphone in my hand with 450+ pairs of eyes watching me and listening to me attentively during the Ignite speeches at the EdTechTeam #OntarioSummit in Cambridge at Jacob Hespeler Secondary School.
Some may wonder why I did not write this blog sooner, you know, when there was still some buzz going around the Ontario Summit. Still, I decided I wanted everything to sink in and see the “long term” ripple effect before I truly wrote down my impressions of it all.
Let’s talk briefly about the weeks before the Ignite. I’ll be honest, sometimes, it wasn’t pretty. But, as I mentioned in my talk… You always have your PLN supporting you on your way down. Considering this, I need to take the time to give a ginormous shoutout to Stephen Hurley, Derek Rhodenizer, Kim Pollishuke, Emily Fitzpatrick, Sandra Chow,Jen Giffen, Hélène Cormier, Joannie Girard, and Stephane Hunter who truly helped shape my Ignite into what it was last Sunday. I truly could not have done it without their support. You all believed in me when I didn’t necessarily believed in myself.
During the couple weeks before the summit, I lived a rollercoaster of emotions. There were low lows and high highs. Don’t quite understand what I mean? Here are some concrete example of things I thought / did…
It’s funny because my Ignite was about taking the JUMP, taking the RISK, saying YES and how it’s not easy, you go through tons of emotions, your PLN will support you and in the end it’s worth it! Well, I lived that whole process from the moment I agree and said ‘Yes’ to Emily Fitzpatrick. That was my jump. Brainstorming, drafting up ideas, getting feedback, building the visuals, getting more feedback and practice, practice and more practice was the free fall until I presented it and I began to soar.
Now I was to focus on the summit weekend itself. My Saturday morning Starbucks run allowed me to receive a message from the universe that deeply affected me. Who would have thought, right?
Have you ever seen those “Take what you need” boards? I found a message that resonated with me quite flawlessly; it said: Inhale Confidence. Exhale doubt. I will admit, I believe in the power of “it was meant to be” and I truly believe that was meant for me to find and pick up.
Saturday flew by! There was so much energy in the building. There were so many rich conversations being had. There were so many smiles brightfully showcased on everyone’s face. There were so many IRL meetups happening. There was so much LEARNING going on. There was so much coffee flowing… (I should have made that into a poem).
Considering how quickly Saturday came and left, that means that Sunday morning arrived even more rapidly. I hadn’t eaten and barely wanted to drink my Americano. I will always remember that morning, Emily asking me if I had eaten and how important it was to do so. I took her advice. (Who wouldn’t?!)
We did a full run through Sunday morning alone in the gym. I had the cold sweats. And, I was the last presenter. Everyone was going up, 1 by 1 and delivering their Ignites like experts. I loved, in this moment, that I felt as though we were a little family. Encouraging, supporting and clapping for one another. Although I had just met 80% of them for the first time, I felt safe to fail in front of them, because I knew they had my back. After I presented, I knew that next time I was going to be on stage, there was going to be a full house.
Then there was me:
Throughout everyone’s presentations I was so inspired. I was also telling myself how EXCITED I was to go and speak rather than focusing on how NERVOUS I was. This was thanks to Chapter 14 of Mel Robinson’s book 5 second book that Helene Cormier had me listen to on the way up to Cambridge. What I learnt was the nervousness and excitement are the some feelings, so if you trick your brain by telling yourself how EXCITED you are, you will feel so so so much better - and I did.
I don’t think I can put into words the feeling you get when the person that went before you hands you the microphone. I took a deep breath, counted backwards from 5 and I jumped.
After it was all done, I had goosebumps. The flood of congratulations and connections that I made was unreal. The best part of this whole experience was not only getting to talk on stage for 5minutes. Rather, it was all of the connections after the fact! I encouraged the educators in the room to be accountable and share their #Jump with me, and did they ever. As I mentioned, the connections after the fact was overwhelming. How could I, a Teacher Candidate have inspired educators to take action? I still wonder…
Having been given this opportunity to make a difference and inspire others on such a large scale still gives me chills because my thoughts, my words, my voice actually inspire people to do something and that is the power of these summits.
If you’d like to hear the other inspiring Ignites, you can find the audio below, thanks to Stephen Hurley!