Saturday, August 30, 2008


One of the jobs of a facilitator is to conduct presentations. It might be a half hour before school session, a two-hour delay, or an all-day summer workshop. No matter which it is, it's something we have to spend hours putting together. There's coming up with the ideas and gathering information. Then there's the running off of handouts or packets and working on hooks to engage the learners. It takes loads of work and time.

On Thursday, I was in a meeting with a group of teachers. I was a learner not a presenter. The material was crucial for me as well as the other teachers. I took notes and listened intently. Well, at least I tried to listen intently.

In the last session---three hours---two people sitting at a table near me, made it almost impossible to listen. They engaged in a conversation of their own. The speaker would walk near them and look right at them as she talked...nothing.

My question was: how could what they were talking about be more important than this speaker with specific knowledge? Would they allow their students to behave this way? I hope not.

When the presentation was over and I was helping the speaker clean up, I apologized for these rude individuals. I assured her not all of the teachers in our district are inconsiderate.

I did learn much that day, from these presenters, about our new reading series. I also learned something about being a presenter. From now on I'll begin my sessions by giving some norms:
  1. If you need to use the restroom---go!
  2. If you need to have a conversation...go outside and do it, then come back in when you are done.

There, I feel better now!

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