On February 9, I presented my first Ignite at our district’s Engaging the Digital Learner series. I have to say that I personally advertised this fact to only 4 adults: the person who asked me, my husband, one friend, and my principal. I was secretly afraid that I wouldn’t be able to go through with it, as I had experienced extreme anxiety in a similar situation a couple of years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, those who know me well know that I don’t usually have an issue speaking up. While I have many introverted tendencies, I have learned to love giving workshops and talking about education – especially inquiry and assessment – because I am passionate about these things. But this time, I wasn’t speaking with a small group or close friends. This time felt different for a few reasons:

a) 250 people is a lot!

b) Ignite format is challenging. It requires practice and is much more formal than a workshop.

c) 250 people is a lot! (seriously, looking out towards the crowd made me feel ill…)

Somehow I made it through the days filled with anxiety beforehand. On some level, I may have even enjoyed sharing in this way. The constraints of an Ignite – 5 minutes, 20 slides on a timer – make it a great creative challenge. In hindsight, I’m even grateful that I presented first, followed by Zale Darnel, Gr. 8 Veronica Nguyen, and @jessgonsales (who were all awesome!) and the Keynote Speaker William Rankin.

I truly feel that the whole process was valuable and that it helped to solidify my thinking about Communicating Student Learning.

Even if public speaking is not your thing, I highly recommend occasionally taking yourself outside of your comfort zone. It’s a great way to grow as an individual, practice humility, and inspire others.

For those who are interested, here are my slides: Ignite – Beverley Bunker


cc Photo Credit: BK via Flickr


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