I am sitting in silence for the first time in two days. My brain has been begging for it after two busy, high-energy days of presenting and learning at the Summit previously known as GAFE (now GSuite) in Vernon, BC with the EdTechTeam. Two full days jammed packed with tips and tricks, inspiring keynotes, and incredible conversations, and I feel as though I’ve reached the saturation point for the time being. It is calming to finally have a chance to catch up with my thoughts.
You know that feeling when you’re really terrified and anxious about something that’s coming up, and then you’re in it and you feel like you’re actually right where you are supposed to be, doing what you are supposed to do? That’s how I felt about this weekend.
In the weeks leading up to the Summit, I spent every waking hour developing beautiful, detailed Slides presentations to use in my sessions. I fretted over what order to present certain ideas in. I panicked about whether I would remember even how to speak French when standing in front of a room of people, and whether they would all just get up and walk out when they heard me speak. And I felt as though I had absolutely no business coming out to this Summit to present along with such incredible educators and ed tech gurus as @lmcbeth, Brad Ovenell-Carter, Michelle Armstrong, Michelle Cordy, Emily Fitzpatrick, Tracy Poelzer, and David Harmon.
And then, over the course of my three days out here in the beautiful Okanagan valley, surrounded by this group of talented people, my fears began to subside. The little voice in my head that kept saying, “Who the hell do you think you are?” and “What are you even doing here?” started to get drowned out, bit by bit, by the other, slightly-less-imaginary voices around me.
They were saying things like this:
“The people who are there [in your sessions] are the ones who need to be there, the things that they learn are what they are meant to learn, and the conversations that take place are the ones that need to take place.” – Brad Ovenell-Carter
“It’s imposter syndrome – and we ALL have it sometimes.” – Tracy Poelzer
And I realized that they were right. I have things to share with people and I love doing it. So I can’t let my fear and sense of inadequacy stop me. So what if I stumble over a few words or forget a vocabulary term in French? Attendees will know what I mean and will appreciate the fact that I’m trying. Who cares if only two people show up to my sessions? Those two people will get so much personal support they will leave feeling like they can handle anything.
And you know what? Everything I’d worried about was for nothing. There is such a hunger out here for this type of training. Every single teacher I met in my sessions, while walking the halls, and over breakfasts and lunches wanted nothing more than to learn something new that they would be able to make use of in their classroom. Because they’re just trying to get better at teaching, and they want to learn how to use technology to do that. I was inspired by their energy and enthusiasm, and they took away a ton of new ideas and a newfound fire for the realm of the possible. What more could I ask for?
This morning, during the keynote, I heard yet another voice that helped to drown out the ones in my head: Michelle Cordy’s.
“You are who you say you are.”
I am here because someone saw something in me and thought I could bring something to the table. I may not have the experience or even half of the knowledge and wisdom as the rest of the team does, but I do have something to offer. This is where I want to be, and this is what I want to do. I don’t know exactly what “this” is, but it is really freaking amazing to be a part of. And I’m just going to keep doing it until, maybe one day, I will actually get that package in the mail that says: “Jennifer Weening, [whatever “this” is]” And I’ll remember that everyone is an imposter, but that’s okay, and that I am who I say I am.