We can’t take offense to them ignoring it before if they hear it NOW!

In a past school year, a colleague and I were trying hard to sell the teachers in our building on a certain technology tool. ¬†The name of the tool doesn’t really matter. ¬†All that mattered is, we considered it a top priority – a tool that could really benefit students. ¬†So, we shared about it in emails, in team meetings, in staff meetings, in more casual conversations, anywhere that we could get an audience for it.

Later, one of the teachers attended a technology conference. ¬†They came back and were super-excited about a fantastic, exciting, new technology tool. ¬†They planned to use it the next day and couldn’t be prouder to have discovered it.

Yup, you guessed it: it was the same tool that we had been beating the drum for all year long.

My colleague was mad.

Colleague: “We’ve shared about this tool so many times and [this teacher] ignored us each time . . . and now she sees thinks she discovered it!?”

Me: “Who cares.

Colleague:¬†“What!? How does this not make you mad? ¬†You recorded videos, you wrote emails, you presented about it in meetings . . . “

Me:¬†“But . . . what was our goal?”

Colleague:¬†“To get teachers to use it.”

Me:¬†“Then we’ve met our goal and the students will benefit.”

The truth is, it’s hard not to be frustrated and offended in this situation. ¬†You pour yourself into your role as a tech coach (whether it’s official or unofficial) and work your tail off to try to expose teachers to the ideas that you believe in. ¬†And when they ignore it, it hurts. ¬†And when they discover it elsewhere and don’t even recall you sharing it, it hurts more.

But . . . it doesn’t matter. ¬†As long as the improvement happens, as long as the students benefit, as long as they hear the message from someone – even if it’s not you – you’ve met your goal. ¬†Take a deep breath and offer to support them in implementing that new tool!

We can’t take offense to them ignoring it before if they hear it NOW!

I was a Coward

I knew it as it was happening, too. ¬†A little voice in my head was yelling, “Don’t be a wimp! ¬†You’re missing an opportunity!” ¬†But I didn’t listen.

I had been frustrated with a quality educator whose mindset was blocking her from buying into a new initiative that was good for our learners.  I knew that the right conversations and experiences could ease her out of this mindset and help her move forward.

I had been thinking about it as I walked to the staff lounge to get my lunch. I was looking forward¬†to grabbing my lunch and heading back to my desk to watch a few videos from¬†my YouTube “Watch Later” list. ¬†And then . . . there she was. ¬†In the lounge. ¬†Eating alone. ¬†It was like fate. ¬†A perfect opportunity to have a friendly trust-building conversation and ease into working on that mindset.

But that didn’t sound enjoyable. ¬†So, I walked away. ¬†I knew it was the wrong thing to do, but sitting there sounded uncomfortable. ¬†Awkward. ¬†I was a coward.

If your goal is to be a leader or a coach, a catalyst or a bus mover, you’ve got to have the uncomfortable, unenjoyable conversations. ¬†You’ve got to take the first awkward steps at building rapport and trust. ¬†Those awkward steps are uncomfortable.

The steps you take when¬†walking away? ¬†Comfortable. ¬†Not awkward at all. ¬†But they’re missed opportunities.

I missed an opportunity that day. ¬†It won’t happen again.