First Professional Presentation

The day of our presentation. We've been eating breakfast at 7, waking at 6. Our room faces East look out over grazing fields for sheep and horses. The fields have been frosted over these past two days, its that cold. Breakfast is big: cereal and fresh fruit salad, tea with jam and bread, ham, sausage, egg, baked beans, baked tomato, and mushrooms. Juice, too. I finish it without being full; its just enough.

This morning I would remember my vest, scarf, and hat but leave my rain jacket and pants. It would rain in the afternoon. This whole trip is a lesson in "inappropriate clothing"! Jen and I practiced our timing on the walk to the bus, the other Jen timing us with the watch. We go a bit over, but stopped to discuss the details to share or omit. We feel comfortable we'll stay on time.

Today's bus connections were better and we arrive in time for the plenary session of some professor from Korea talking about World Englishes. I come late because I need to take care of the photocopying of our handout. The print shop took care of it right away and I had 50 cut, color bookmarks in 5 minutes. I think i went to a session spelling mistakes by Arabic students. it gave me ideas for doing the same thing with my Spanish students.

At the tea break, Jen and I came to our room to set up. We put bookmarks on each chair, loaded the powerpoint on the computer and made sure the room was a comfortable temperature. Jen said she had trouble sleeping last night out of worrying about this and that for our presentation. I was surprised because she made me rest assured that I would do fine. Perhaps those of us who can comfort others also need to be comforted at the same time.

When we started our presentation the room wsa packed with 50 attendees. One of the Teacher Development Interest Group leaders introduced us, then sat in front of the door. She actually had to turn away latercomers because there was no room for them to sit or stand! Jen and I traded off slides and speeches very fluidly. We stayed within our 30 minute time limit and had 5 minutes for questions at the end.

I experienced for the first time that there is something beyond the author/presenter's content that draws, engages, adn enriches the experience of audience members. Each person brings his/her expectations and filter for information. They didn't necessarily come because I was presenting but because the topic interested or already meant something to them that they brought to filter their perspective for better or for worse. But, by the end, I was associated with their interest. Two to three people stopped me afterwards to say how much they enjoyed it.

One of those people was Andrew Wright. He came to our session as a 13-book author or storytelling. He asked a question about ease of uploading video/photo content to a blog. He wants to create a website for his work. [I actually learned this on Friday, when I went home.] The fact that people want to hear what I ahve to say makes me want to share more!

1 comment:

Dzen said...

It was such an honor to present with you, Jeff! You captured our experience so well. :) I am proud of us and hope this is the first of a string of co-presentations!

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