Is this High School?….again

Today is a really busy day in my house. It’s one of those days I feared. All the kids had something to do in opposite directions. We avoided it for all these years and I said it wouldn’t happened to us. But here we are.

When my husband and I started to hand out our orders I got taking my youngest to dance class. My son is an amazing dancer so his teacher asked for him to join another class for the recital. This isn’t our regular class so I didn’t know anyone but the teacher.

I again always avoided Saturday dance classes. They’re crowded and more importantly they’re all about cliques. This class didn’t disappoint. For the hour class I went 55 minutes with no one saying a word to me. I usually wouldn’t care because I planned on zoning out and reading but alas someone used my iPad last night and didn’t charge it. You can imagine my horror when I opened it up only to find 4% power. Ugh.

Now with nothing to occupy the time I took to people watching. What I found amazing was there was a definite dividing line between the cliques. I was not in either for the record. I was however deemed invisible so both sides at different points in the power shift didn’t mind talking freely in front of me. Both groups recognized there was a dividing line and they each blamed the other for it. Crazy is this high school or a meeting of the 30-40 something Moms.

I’ve never been one to have loads of friends. I’m not part of a Mom Mafia that controls the soccer field. I like hanging at home with my kids or having alone time. Do I fear my kids having trouble building relationships with the other kids? I do. If the parents can’t bridge a gap how can they teach their kids too.


What I’ve learned from teaching a corporate class.

I don’t have a huge amount of extra time to kill but I realized that in order to really succeed at my career and at life in general I need to expand my horizons.  I also needed to do that whole networking thing everyone talks about.  Over the last 5 years I’ve found the time to join the Women’s Network at my company and even volunteer.  I also took an amazing series of classes offered by my company on managing my career.  I really found great success with the tools and exercises in the class and it forced me to think about my career and what I want out of it.  What do I want….in addition to my career I always dreamed of teaching on the college level where I can impart the knowledge I’ve gained along the way.

Now to tie in to the title of the post…jump ahead to my more recent past and from networking and really enjoying the class on career development the person who developed the class asked me if I’d be interested in facilitating it.  My first reaction…Are you sure you want me to do this?  The response was didn’t you share in the class you wanted to teach…then why wait for the college level try kicking it off here.  And with that Stephanie Waters the class facilitator was born.  So to really align with the post…what have I learned?

1.) Teaching a virtual class can be difficult.  (Did I mention this was a virtual class environment?)  Trying to make sure those on the other end of the presentation tool and the phone are engaged is no easy feat.

2.) To further build on that. My no fear of public speaking was not enough of a skill set for rallying everyone to be engaged.  It forced me to work on that and I’ve developed some great techniques.

3.) People can be both amazingly positive and others really harsh in their follow up review of you and your session.  (And it’s on file which makes it even more scary.  When they share with you the comments you feel like how it would have been if you broke into the principals office, back when things were not digital, and saw your file.  Miss Smith thinks I’m a bit bossy in class.  Well I never.  I should note I never had a Miss Smith and I do admit I wouldn’t be shocked if bossy was used in my permanent record at least once. And to that I say I’m not bossy I’m just curious, in a forceful kind of way.)

4.) Reading those comments affect you.  I’m not going to lie the bad ones could affect you more. I had a boat load of amazing ones including emails from people in the class, many of which I remain in contact with. I had one really harsh one that that sticks with me.  I know it shouldn’t because you’re not going to make everyone like you. I also prided myself on not caring what other people think.  But who am I kidding, it does.

5.) The bad ones actually can be good.  I dealt with the harsh comment in the only way I knew how. I upped my game.  Of course this comment was after my first ever class and I thought, well there goes my teaching career.  That lasted a second until I said…wait a minute one person’s comment was not going to kill this dream. I’m not going down without a fight.  And so far so good.

6.) You meet some amazing people. Teaching a virtual class allows me to share my story and hear theirs from anywhere in the world.  I’m not limiting this horizon to those in NY but anyone available at that time of day.

7.) It pushed me out of my comfort zone…and that’s a good thing.  Putting myself out there for critique was definitely out of my comfort zone.  I legitimately don’t have a fear of public speaking…but I now know I had a fear of being criticized for that public speech.  I try to remember it’s all constructive criticism and not everyone is going to like me.  If someone says, I can’t stand her voice, what am I gonna do.  You can take the girl out of Brooklyn….