All right, I’m writing this post in a bit of a humbled mood.
I’ve been doing this huge action research study this school year in which I have studied student apathy, the origins of student apathy, ways of preventing student apathy, and the effects of student apathy on the teacher. I was…hell…I AM proud of the research that I have done, and I was really excited when I learned (a couple of weeks ago) that I was invited to present in a conference. Thrilled. Excited. Jumping out of my skin. I was so excited about the fact that I was going to share what my students had shown me to the world.
Well, today was the conference.
Last week, I spent about a hundred dollars on new clothes to include new shoes and make-up. Now, I am classic non-girly-girl and cosmetics in my world are Chap-Stik and deodorant. I even got a colleague to go shopping (I LOATHE shopping) with me to help me buy new clothing. Buying all of this stuff was a huge deal for me, especially given that Pat and I are working at NOT spending money.
Sunday, I wrote up my outline for my presentation. I even had Lauren edit it and she gave me some great points.
Yesterday, I had a colleague proof the outline. I even showed it to my students so that they could give final suggestions.
And..today was the conference.
The breakout session I was speaking in was 40 minutes long. I was actually sharing my time with another researcher. Not a problem. We had been informed earlier and had agreed on a good, healthy split of time (obviously, 20 minutes each). I volunteered to speak second since I am just a little long-winded.
She got up on stage, started her Powerpoint and started talking.
30 minutes later and 10 minutes past the point at which I was supposed to start talking, she was still talking. 5 minutes later, she asked for questions. A couple minutes after that, she was looking at me expectantly.
I had 7 minutes to talk. 7 minutes during which I had to condense my presentation and try to communicate something that I thought was powerfully important.
To 7 people. 3 of whom had heard my presentation before.
Of the 4 people left in this spacious ballroom (I did not have a Cinderella experience), 2 people listened. 2 people stared at their computers and basically ignored me.
To say I was pissed would be an understatement. I ate my lunch, fuming, left the conference to go to my second talk about creative writing and writing fan fiction, and called my husband. I vented and raged about my frustrations about how I was feeling disappointed and how I had robbed the family. Pat, being lovely, offered as much comfort as he could (and I am not being sarcastic).
But as I have driven around the city and through suburbs and past farm lands and factories, I continued to fume about how I had been cheated from this breakthrough moment in my career. My pedestal was tarnished. The effigy to my brilliance and greatness was nothing more than gilded wood with a whole lot of nothing.
And no one cared.
Now I am being sarcastic.
Because somewhere around the point where I was passing the convenience store or the military installations or the cube of a library where I was teaching, I was slapped around by the knowledge that I was experiencing classic first-world problems. On the radio (NPR), I heard news about Boko Haram joining ISIS. I learned that ISIS might have kidnapped more people. I listen to stories of financial markets having issues.
And I am mentally whining about 7 minutes?
Geez, I’m an idiot.
I’m an idiot when I get all frustrated and snarky because I wait my turn in the lane in which I am driving and someone rushes around in the other lane only to cut in front of me so that he/she doesn’t have to wait his/her turn and I’m angry because I was the good person to wait my turn.
Grow the heck up, girl. It’s not that big of a deal.
I met a woman today who is from Nepal. I don’t know a lot about Nepal. But in doing some research, Nepal ranks 145 out of 187 countries (courtesy of Wikipedia).
And I’m whining about 7 God-forsaken minutes.
Classic first-world problems.
My life is so friggin’ easy. Sure, I don’t make tons of money, but my house would be huge by the standards of the Nepalese people. I have indoor plumbing that even includes hot water. I have electricity. I have central heating and air. I press a button and my house is either comfortably cool or comfortably warm. I open a door and I have refrigerated food. I have options. I have choices. My daughter or I will never suffer from the threat of cliterectomy. My daughter, like myself, will choose if she wishes to get married. Yeah, this is a lot like the Jilly-Bean post.
However, as I sit here in my recliner and the Girl changes channels, I am reminded of the incredible peace and joy of my life because I don’t live in a third-world country. I live in a country in which I have rights and privileges and the ability to voice my opinion on anything I want. And I can talk for 7 minutes or 7 seconds or 7 hours.
So, I didn’t get my 20 minutes of talking time.
Wah. Wah wah wah. I’m still a bit sore about this, but I’m even more humbled. Because, in the end, it didn’t matter. Tomorrow, I will go back to school and continue to work with my lovely students and will continue to learn from them as I teach them and the cycle of education will continue.
Tomorrow, I will start looking at academic journals and start thinking about writing up my research and get it published. Because I do have some points I think are important and should be shared.
And, for now, I am going to be content with my 7 lost minutes and a whole lot of humble-ness that has been swapped for those 7 minutes.
I feel better already.