Sketchnoting at #MLS17
Wow! What an experience the entire #MLS17 conference was. With nearly 900 individuals experiencing the conference, we could probably have at least that many blog stories. I hope everyone learned something, walked alway energized, and is ready to start the school year.
As you may know, I spent the conference organizing presenters and sessions, running around with the rest of the MCS coaching team to take care of details, and oh yeah, prepping and delivering my own sessions. Maybe most exciting for me, however, was sitting up on stage during George Couros’ keynote on Innovator’s Mindset.
“Exciting” as in nerveracking, terrifying, trying, and stressful.
Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m claiming to be some kind of war hero because I did something slightly scary (scary for me anyway). Instead, I just hope to reflect on those everyday anxieties that can keep us from doing cool things. Let me tell you, being on stage with George Couros is an extremely cool thing for a teacher-nerd like me. I almost didn’t do it because of anxiety and fear of failure. I just want to process those thoughts and hope it helps someone this school year.
One really tries to live the values one purports to be most important. But does anything scare away your values quite like anxiety, fear, and doubts?
Let’s talk about those doubts:
- I taught art, will people think I’m a fraud if these sketchnotes don’t look amazing?
- George Couros is fast-paced presenter who rapid-fires amazing points. Can I keep up with that?
- Sketchnoting is a really great way to help your brain process information. Will trying to keep up reveal some lack of brain processing power?
- There are a few hundred of your closest friends at this little event.
“No pressure.” – literally texted to me by one of my favorite teachers right before starting. Actually, that was pretty funny and helped me lighten up.
So about those values, how did those come into play? Well, we decided that I would sketchnote the keynote just a few days before it was all supposed to go down. You know something that accelerates fears? Short timelines to prepare.
Obviously I value innovation – but how does that really break down in practice? Here are the values I tried to keep hiding while prepping through that short timeline.
Value 1 // The Thing About Comfort Zones: Embrace the Unkown
Yeah, that might sound a little cliché. It’s true though, we face a lot of unkown and anxiety in education. Every time we get a new administrator in the building or district office, every time there’s a new hire on our team or department… heck, every time there’s a new school year or even a new election – no matter who wins – we’re facing the unknown. Embracing that unknown is key to having a long career in education. The fact is that EVERYONE faces unknowns. Decision makers, educators, students, parents. So, when one of those little voices in my head tried to remind that live sketchnoting could be a disaster, I did my best to remind that voice that we face the unkown all the time.
Value 2 // Everyone Can Do Something: Don’t Be Afraid of Your Talents
We’re all good at things. I may not be the best artist in Mason. I taught kids way more talented at art than I am. But I can draw. I can put pencil to paper and control my hand enough to make an image look like something in real life. I know colors, lines, mark making, etc. I can use all of those things to communicate. I shouldn’t be afraid of showing what I can do just because others are better at the same thing. There’s always someone better – that’s a growth opportunity. Not a reason to go run and hide.
Value 3 // Relationships: Get a Little Help From Your Friends
The Beatles had it right, you need a little help from your friends. I had that with my good friend Krissy Hufnagel on the stage with me. If you didn’t notice, George is a really crazy fast presenter. I compare to him a verbal Twitter feed. One thought after another, after another, after another. It’s energizing, but I’m sure not a single note takers in the auditorium was able to capture quite EVERYTHING he had to say.
Value 4 // Catch Coaching Opportunities: Never Miss a Chance To Show Something New
Drawing on stage actually opened up some really cool coaching opportunities. Other people are now interested in sketchnoting. They want to know what tools I used and what I did to stay focused and how I figured out what to draw. Questions like that help my pivot to an opportunity to tie in my life’s work – developing others. I’m hoping many other people will decide to try this method of capturing their learning.
So, that was a long post. My apologies. I do hope that someone out there feels inspired to live their values when their brain is telling them to run the other way. Stepping out of your comfort zone is always great advice; but hopefully reflecting on your values is a great way to actual to get yourself to make that first step.
If you are interested in trying sketchnoting, or have tried it and want to share your experiences, please comment below. I would love to connect with other brand new sketchnoters!