When I was a kid, one of the things my mother did as an educational consultant was to do workshops. In my life, I have to admit, I never knew what the hell a workshop was. I figured this out decades later as a grad student in education. Pretty much within the last year, in fact. I go to a lot of them now and sort of wish I could go back in time and tell my mother that I know what she’s talking about. She’d usually say something like, “I did an Early Childhood workshop and they loved me!” And she would always say this in a totally surprised and authentically appreciative voice. The thing I got out of this was that my mother was good at her job and people liked her performance. Naturally, this never amazed me as her daughter. But I still had no idea what the thing she did actually was.
When I typed that first line of the post, I hesitated at what job description to give my mother because I honestly never knew her title until her last one, and that’s because I have her old business card. As an adult, I am able to label her job as “educational consultant.” You may wonder what I told people my mother did when I was a child and didn’t have a handy term like “teacher” or “lawyer.” What I would tell people was, “my mother teaches teachers how to teach.” Just like I told people my father was a doctor who treated sick computers. In reality, he had a Ph.D. in engineering and worked at IBM. But doctor has a distinct meaning to kids.
This blog is focused quite a lot on the ongoing dialogue between me and my past. I’m always sort of reaching towards it, sometimes tussling with it, often trying to make my peace with it, and always trying to figure it out. Tomorrow, that is, today in a few hours, I go back to my old high school to give an introductory presentation which will eventually lead up to a series of workshops. Many of my former teachers still teach there and will be in the audience. If you imagine I am freaked out by this, just jack that image up a bit and that’s where I’m at. You may even wonder why I said yes to this (especially as it’s a holiday and my day off – and I’m not getting paid). In the 30 seconds I had to consider it, my line of thought was this: the only reason I wouldn’t do this is because I’m afraid to do this. And that’s not a good enough reason. But that doesn’t make me less afraid.
When I was in high school, I often came in unprepared. I’m a procrastinator and, like most teenagers, I liked to slack off. Well, I still like to slack off. I did wait till the last day to put together my presentation, but it was more because I have so little time. And the fact that I finished it the night before and not in the car on the way to school (or in the class before… or in the class) already puts me ahead of where I was then. But I do wonder if the teachers will look at me and think, “wasn’t she the one whose grade I lowered because she had a bad attitude?” (That actually happened.) Or, “I really think that girl nearly failed my class.” (That happened a few times, too.) Why the hell should they listen to me?
Well, for one thing, because I know technology and they don’t. But mostly because if I’m old, that means they’re really old and probably don’t remember that I actually even sat in their classrooms. One can hope, anyway.