On a whim, I thought I would put a proposal in to present at the NAEA National Conference in New Orleans. The proposals were due at the end of May last year, or something like that, and I cut it pretty close. I don’t know why I put in that proposal…my husband had recently become unemployed and I wasn’t sure if we could even afford it. But, I decided we would figure it out if I was accepted.
Fast forward to the beginning of the school year. I received an email saying I was in. I was in shock. I knew many had proposed, and I was honored that I was a lucky one that was accepted. Now, I had presented before at my state conferences. In fact, my first presentation was as a first-year teacher. I was presenting a 3-lesson unit I had done during my student teaching. The room was packed for that and I was nervous as hell. But, all went well and I was glad I had done it. Another time I presented I did a hands-on session. While it was totally fun, I hated bringing all the supplies with me. However, this was my first National conference. Things would be different. The audience base was a gazillion times bigger than Texas. Talk about pressure.
This time I was going to present about how I have my students create altered books. I chose to do a lecture-type presentation that would last about 25 minutes. My session was called “Altered Books: Exploration Around a Theme”. I created my powerpoint. I gathered all the photos I had from various years. And, I packed up a bunch of books my students had graciously allowed me to take to NOLA. I created business cards that had my session info and a QR code that linked to all of my information (website, email, twitter accounts, school website, etc.) I highly suggest this. It made it so easy to share things with others. I was even able to give out at other times to teachers I had met during the conference.
To say I was nervous is to put it lightly. I was nervous I would talk too fast. I was nervous no one would show up. I was nervous I would flub. I sat in the hall outside my room going over my slide show. I knew the information by heart. I don’t know why I felt the need to go over it. It didn’t really calm my nerves. Then people started to show up, waiting with me outside the room. They were there for me. I was starting to calm down.
I finally got in the room to set up. I began putting the books on the table and it was like a signal went out the art teachers in the room. They began to swarm the table. I felt a sense of calm, and my worries melted away. The room was full of art teachers–way more than I anticipated. I began my show. I was steady. I slipped in my humor. I talked with pride about my students. I didn’t rush.
Basically, I felt I rocked it. Later, during the rest of the weekend, when random people came up to me and said how much they enjoyed my presentation…I knew I had.
I look forward to presenting again. I already have the wheels turning, trying to decide what I want to present about.
For those that didn’t attend, here are some files from my presentation. Message me or comment if you have any questions. I love sharing.