This is the question that I have been asking myself for the past few weeks. I gave up part of my Spring Break for this. Many hours of sleep were lost over this, as well as, personal leave days. It would have been easy to skip it, but I would have never gotten the answer to my question. I would have missed more than just an answer, I would have missed a valuable experience. The "this" is the 2009 MICCA conference in Baltimore.
The experience started too early in the morning and I was a nervous wreck. I was grateful to meet up with The Art Guy (Aaron Smith) to calm my nerves until my Google presentation started. Just a simple conversation allowed me focus and let go of some of my nerves.
Shocked is not a strong enough word to express how I felt when my Google presentation didn't have a empty seat. Some were willing to seat on the floor, stand in the back, and some even stood in the hallway. It was odd to be the expert of the moment, to have a silent room, and applause at the end. The weirdest of it all is to have people surround me with questions and comments after the session which for person that has been an conference attendee for many years the final sign that is was a successful session. The cherry on top was being offered a paid presentation opportunity. More details on that when it happens.
The rest of the conference went well, including my Web 2.0 presentation. It was great to catch up with so many that I haven't seen in awhile and to make new connections. When I wasn't presenting I got to see some great presentations and have conversations on how my district should be moving forward in technology.
I actually started this post during MICCA which is now weeks ago, so you might be wondering why it took so long to go live. The reason is that I wanted to detail the after effect.
I went directly back to school the day after the conference and it was a disaster. State online Science testing had begun so I had to build a make-shift computer lab in a small portion of the media center. Instead of conservations about moving forward, I had to hear conservations that have been replayed for the past four years. It was depressing to say the least and now my title question was applied to my everyday profession: Why do I put myself through this?
After getting over the shock I realized the answer was simple: Change. I know that I can't expect things to move forward if I am not willing to help. And so I will keep challenging myself and giving myself more work than required in the hope for change in schools. Kudos to all of those fighting the same fight and I hope to see you at at the next conference or tech event. You are my inspiration.