I used to joke that bad things only happen when Dave is out of town. When we lived in Florida, the only snake I ever saw by our pool was when Dave was out of town. Likewise, during one business trip of Dave's, we had a squirrel in our bedroom that the Labs all tried to "catch". What a nightmare.
Now we are in Tucson and Dave is out of town. Guess what! More wildlife, just of the Tusconian variety. I have taken the Labs out for walks each morning. This evening, I decided to knock their socks off by taking them for a second walk. As we left the gated community, I headed north on a path with the three girls in tow. Okay, technically, they walk me. All of a sudden, from between the cactus and the bushes, I saw a flash of black and brown. A coyote headed our way. The Labs had the sense, I think, to show a bit of restraint. They looked to me for assistance. In truth, I didn't really know what to do. I have heard stories of packs of coyotes surrounding and attacking humans and dogs. I think instinct took over when he seemed to come a bit closer. I lifted the arm that didn't have the leashes, shook my arm and yelled, "Haaaaaaah!" in my most commanding voice. Apparently, loud noises from a crazy woman is enough to tell this coyote to head the other way. He slunk away from us and the last I saw, he was slinking across the golf course.
I thought about how exerting our aggressive, loud selves is a turn-off for coyotes but also for humans, as well. That kind of attitude makes people turn and slink away, perhaps never to trust us again. I suppose we should use this technique with gusto around native wildlife but use it with caution among fellow humans.
Just for today, why not think about how our actions and voice tone are received.
Sometimes, I am just amazed at people. Twice today, I have almost done a double-take and said, "You just said what???"
The first was this morning. My partner in crime, Carolyn McAllister, and I were preparing to present a workshop on Communication and Motivation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A couple of participants had come in the room and taken seats and Carolyn was talking to them, while I stood at the door and greeted the new ones coming in. Carolyn asked one teacher, "How are you enjoying the conference so far?" to which the teacher replied, "I'm not. It hasn't been good at all." Carolyn replied, "Oh no! What haven't you liked?" The teacher said, "I really don't want to talk about it. I don't want to talk." Ummmmmm......did you realize you just came to a workshop on communication, I wondered, when Carolyn told me the news. Oh dear...... The good news is she brightened up and even shared and talked with her tablemates within the next hour. Success!!!!!
The next is even more baffling, I think. I traveled to Birmingham, AL where I rented a car to drive south for two hours. When I got in the car, I was happy to see it had Sirius/XM radio in it. Yea! Oh no, I realized. It had it but it wasn't enabled on the car. Hmmmm.....what to do? I called customer service and said, "Hey, my husband and I are long-time customers of Sirius/XM. I am traveling and am without my own Sirius subscription in my car. BUT....I have a rental car that just needs its radio activated. Can you activate it for me for just one day?" The rep said, "I'm sorry, I can't do that." "Oh no!" I replied. "Why not?" "I don't know", she said, but I will get you to customer care where they can tell you why". Alrighty, I thought. There is still hope.
She patched me through to customer care. A remarkably similar sounding woman answered, I told her my plight, and she said, "I will check to see if we can do that for you." She came back on the line and said, "I'm sorry we can't, unless you want to transfer your subscription to this car." "No" I said. "That sounds dangerous, as it often takes me a while to get customer service and I don't want to be out my own subscription when I get home tomorrow night. How about just activating this radio for 24 hours as a trial subscription?"
She thought and thought......and thought and thought. Then she said, "I'm just so sorry. I can't activate the radio for 24 hour trial period. I could only activate it for a trial for 3 months." You said WHAT??? I didn't say this, I only thought it. What I did say was, "Oh, okay, I understand. Well, that's better than nothing. Please let's go ahead and activate the rental car's radio for 3 months, then, if you can't do it for 24 hours."
You're welcome, next National Car Rental renter.
Just for today, listen for interesting things people say!!
How many of you use auto-correct on your smartphone? How many of you use voice-to-text?
I like to use both and, despite the fact that my husband makes terrible fun of me for saying "period.return.Shelly" at the end of every email I say outloud, I have found it to be a hugely helpful tool.
Those tools do not come without a bit of danger, however. When applying for a part-time professorship at an online university, I sent a reminder email to one of my previous supervisors. Her name is Kaye but voice-to-text clearly believed I wanted to send this to Kate. I argued with Mrs. Voice-to-text to no avail. I had to send an "I'm sorry, Kaye. I really know your name is not Kate" email.
Another example? When I first passed my prelims for my doctoral program, I was able to voice-to-text my husband to tell him the great news. He was out on the golf course so we couldn't talk in person (golf takes precedence over.....well, everything, in my house), but voice-to-text seemed a reasonable substitute. I said, "I am now officially a doctoral candidate". Unfortunately, my text came out like this: "I am now officially a doctoral can of debt", to which my husband promptly replied, "Well, that is clearly the truth". Boo.
Not too long ago, I voice-to-texted my CPA to tell him to shoot an email with the latest piece of paperwork I needed in order to apply to be a corporation. Not so, said Mrs. Voice-to-Text. She assumed I wanted him to SH** an email. No, no, no!!
I truly do love technology.
I just would love that it hears me, not naughty language.
Just for today, watch out for that voice to text or auto-correct feature. And.....I'd love to hear your "OOPS" experiences.
Because I work in the field of education, I sometimes hear the complaint, "We don't get paid enough." I totally agree. I strongly believe that doing the good work that happens in schools should pay a lot more than it does. Never an argument. I would challenge anyone who believes teachers make more than they should or anywhere close to what they should.
I do, however, have a thought. I was thinking about what we are worth, today, as I drove away from a training in which I worked with 75 teachers from New York. The teachers were engaged, thoughtful in their processing, and ready to do what it takes to improve and reflect on their ever-evolving practice.
I began to think about how, within a 6 hour day with teachers, every moment counts so much. I have no business even wasting a moment of that time, nor do I want to do so. I wondered if I always felt like that when I was a classroom teacher. I thought about how, no matter what we are paid to do educational work, every moment counts. I wondered if we could put a price on how much each moment and day count when we work with students.
I challenge us all, including myself. If we find ourselves saying, "If I made $1,000,000 each year, I would make each moment count more", maybe we should ask, "What pay is too little to make each moment count?"
In other words, doesn't every single learner with whom we work deserve our "every moment counting" even if we don't make $1,000,000? What if we don't make $250,000 a year? What if it's not even $100,000 a year or even $50,000 a year? Many teachers don't make that much money yet many still make every single moment count with every single learner in their midst.
Just for today, why not consider making every moment count in whatever work we do? It'
I have so enjoyed getting a chance to work in New York City the last few weeks, several days at a time. Yesterday, two fellow consultants and I worked in Brooklyn. We taught at the Brooklyn Law School on the 22nd floor, where we had a 360 degree view of the area, including none other than the Statue of Liberty.
We thanked the 150 participants for their attention throughout the day, citing the fact that these teachers were on their summer break but were still committed to the work of improving teacher practice. They laughed with us, stayed engaged the entire day and asked thoughtful questions.
I am so grateful to work with such dedicated educators, especially when the public often seems to put such demands on our profession. More accountability with no more pay. To continue to have the fortitude to do what is right for students in the face of frustration is a daunting task but over 70,000 teachers in NYC are proof positive that if they can do it, anyone in any district can do it. I am proud of the work I see around the country and am grateful.
One story from two days ago: I had told everyone I had been a principal in Northwest Florida, home of some pretty amazing beaches.
After I finished presenting my portion of the training to the group, we took a break, at which point a teacher approached me with a very serious look on her face. "Can I ask you a question?" she asked. I said, "Sure!" thinking she wanted to know more about student engagement, etc.
"Can you recommend a good resort in the Destin area?"
Well, teachers are committed to the work AND committed to getting the best deal on their vacation!
Okay, I'll admit. I have thought it was sweet when people next to me on the airplane see a picture of our dogs on my computer (they are always my desktop background---more top-billing than Dave!) and comment on it.
But, I try to be cautious about looking at other peoples' computers, knowing that it is their stuff and they haven't invited me to check out their facebook page or read their expense report or whatever else they are working on.
But this morning on my flight from Phoenix to NYC, I made the mistake of glancing over at the computer of the lady sitting next to me. She was obviously creating a Powerpoint presentation, which I thought, "Oh we are working on similar stuff." Au contraire....
I only glanced, I promise, but what I saw was this:
1. Meet and Greet
2. Chlamydia role-play
WHAT????? A Chlamydia role-play? What exactly would constitute such a thing and how does one even sign up for such a training?
I do realize that Stephen Covey had it right when he said, "Seek first to understand, THEN to be understood." I think he also should have told me to mind my own nosy business, but WOWEE!!!
Lesson learned? Probably not. In fact, I am wondering if this might actually make me more prone to peering over peoples' shoulders to see what intriguing work they are working on.
Dave and I are on vacation this week in Sedona, AZ. How great is it to be able to wake up to views of the Red Rock formations such as Snoopy and Coffeepot and many others? We are hiking to Cathedral Rock, one of the most photographed views in the country, tomorrow, with our sweet Labs. All is great.
Yesterday we went in to the condo receptionist area to get a parking pass. The gentleman at the desk tried to parlay this parking pass quest into an opportunity for him to sign us up for a timeshare presentation. Three different times during our hour time with him (setting up a helicopter ride, jeep tour, and yes, the ever-beloved timeshare presentation), he said, "You guys are so much fun" and "I have never had such fun customers".
Why would that be? I think it has to do with having fun, no matter what we are doing. Sure, we can get frustrated or all about our own agenda, maybe even spending a bit too much time attending the pity party. But, how much fun is that? Not much. Not for ourselves or certainly not for the people around us.
Instead, Dave and I tend to spend time having fun with each other and ultimately with other people around us. Laughter is infectious, for sure, and we do a lot of that. I think it even saves us from getting sick. Maybe that isn't really true, but I sure like to think so.
Just for today, why not choose to be the light that someone else might ne