We tell our students that they must push beyond what they feel is comfortable, because it is only then that they can grow. What we fail to tell them (but I daresay they all know instinctively) is that when you enter the realm of the unknown you are also running the risk of humiliating failure. Being naturally excellent, I had forgotten that the second possibility was still there for me and I must say that it caught me almost but not quite entirely by surprise.
Late in the school year, our Fearless Leader’s decided to hand over the control of our email program to Google. This was widely hailed by the staff as “meh” and no one thought anything of it at the time. Since we’ve all come back to work however, we learned that our Fearless Leaders would like us to post our lesson plans and homework assignments on a Google website and using Google calendars.
Growing up as I have in the first part of the Computer Era, I have always thought of myself as a semi-competent computer user. I can turn on a computer and with help from my Faithful Hound manage to work most programs without much problem at all (except for MS Paint.. does it even do anything?!).
So you can imagine the breezy confidence with which I entered the Google Apps Training Seminar friday afternoon. I said to myself, “It’s a Google program designed for public consumption… piece of cake!” – Dear Readers, it pains me to say it, but I have been defeated. My confidence is shattered and the web page that I finally (after much sweating, swearing, and slamming of the mouse) managed to create looks like the scribbled and nonsensical musings of a rhesus monkey on acid.
The worst part of it is, I can’t even tell you which part of the process is tripping me up. I’ve got some kind of weird mental block about it and even sitting here contemplating the matter has me sweating like a fat kid faced with the rope climb in gym class (I’m big boned, dammit!).
Why would the Fearless Leaders do this to us? What could they possibly hope to gain from frustrating and confusing their most talented staff members? (Judging from the tears and piteous cries coming from elsewhere in the room I wasn’t the only one have problems) Is this all just a clever ploy to break us down before our Pre-Evaluations so that we don’t mark ourselves too high and thus make it more difficult for our Fearless Leaders to evaluate all of our artifacts at the end of the year? (Editor’s Note for the non-teaching: Our new appraisal instrument requires us to rate ourselves at the beginning of the year and have us present artifacts at the end of the year to prove that we are doing our jobs… this will be much more effective than actually watching us teach.) I would think that they get some kind of twisted pleasure out of making us weep bitter tears into our coffee mugs, but very few SASS members go into Fearless Leading and I don’t think any of them made this call anyway.
So despite the looming rain clouds, today is not a Double Rainbow Day. In a lame effort to cheer you up, I give you this from the Double Rainbow guys.