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Thursday, December 18, 2008

NECC 2009: Don't let rejection or acceptance go to your head!



It is tough with NECC 2009 this year -- so many people applied, I know it had to be tough to decide who would present. (The twittersphere has been atweet over this.)

I just want to tell the people who were "rejected" what to think about rejection. Rejection has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. The lonely girl in the back of the room (put there b/c she wouldn't dare talk to anyone) -- made fun of, hurt, and wounded most of the time.

And yet, through this, rejection has taught me something.

My self worth comes from me and service to the audience of One. I am a person made in God's image with a purpose and a plan and rejection hurts. WE all want to be "accepted" -- we want to be included. We want to be valued and considered important.

To me, since I've become a teacher, I find this desire to be valued rear its ugly head way too often -- because, I think that as a teacher, we're often islands working with students who don't even thank the parents who feed and clothe them! Most are undervalued and unappreciated at their schools and so, we want SOMEONE somewhere to notice the pain and heartache of pouring one's soul into every day.

The edublogosphere is, on the whole, a pretty welcoming place (sometimes.) (In fact, I've found it to be tougher now, than at the beginning b/c we're always all looking for the "new" face - we all sometimes reject people who seem to have been there a while.)

So, then, we finally have acceptance of the edublogosphere, and then, we get the nerve to try for NECC. And "Bam" -- no we don't want you.

No matter how they phrase it, no matter what they do -- it hurts. It stings like salt water to the eyes. NO matter what anyone says, we lay there at night wrapped up in our blanket and feel alone and lonely.

Rejection hurts.

And if you're on the side who is "accepted" - I can tell you this -- don't let it go to your heads. Because if those who have been "rejected" are worth their mettle, they'll let this "rejection" stoke the fire to receive greater and greater excellence.

The only way to permanently fall is to not get back up. To me, those with the most greatness often go through the greatest rejections of life. And amidst those rejections, they pull themselves together, refocus their understanding of why they've been put on this planet, and go on to achieve more than they every would have if they had been "accepted."

To me, rejection has been both my fuel to be more as well as a branding iron on my heart. It is your choice as to what you will do with it.

Brush yourself off, take part in NECC unplugged, and realize what my Mom always tells me:

"You can't go on a guilt trip unless you pack your own bags. You don't go to a pity party unless you make your own cake."

Now, are you going to let the amazing things you've done throughout your life be defined by this one thing?

Are you going to be bitter or are you going to be better?

Are you going to pack your bags and make a cake -- or are you going to just get up, dust off and do the real work you have on your desk right now!

Some might say, "that's easy for you to say, you got accepted."

Well, you know what - when I started I got a lot of rejections and still do. I get more rejections now than ever - but that is because I try to do more things. Nothing, I mean nothing, makes it easier. Someone said something so unkind about me on another blog last week, that it literally almost ruined last Saturday.

And I talked to my sister, and she said some wise words:

"Vicki, who is this person? They don't know you! You don't even know if that is their real name! They can say whatever they want about you and don't even care. How dare you let that bother you. Get over it! You have a life to live and a family to raise and if you're going to let strangers bother you, then you're going to have to go offline permanently. If you're doing anything worth doing - some people will like you and some won't, get over it."

Ok, so, that is what I'm telling you. No selection process is perfect. And don't you dare think that acceptance or rejection of your proposal gives you any validation as a person.

If you are an educator worth your salt, you're here for the students - the kids.

You're in this because it is a calling to improve the society of the future by reaching out to, encouraging, and helping the generations of today. It is a thankless job today but you leave a legacy -- and that, my friends lasts.

So, brush off the dust of this rejection and move ahead to something else. Keep trying, keep sticking your neck out and realize that in order to make any difference in this world, you've got to take a lot of lumps on the ole noggin.

IF this is about what you're doing and not your own need for affirmation -- move forward and focus on the mission.

Teaching, parenting, and blogging can all often be lonely, but we have some very important work to do here.

Don't you dare let this NECC rejection make you curl up into a ball and retreat from the world. We need you! We need each other!

And those who got accepted, again, better not take it for granted - it is a gift. Serve well and keep your wits about you and your ego under control. Arrogance has always been the great enemy of learning and one that we all have to struggle with sometimes.

Best wishes to all of my amazing friends and inspirations out there. As mama also says, "Keep up your chins!"

And go on to make the unconference and edubloggercon something special that people will talk about -- so they'll say, "now who was crazy enough to say no to ___." (fill in your name) And remember what it is like as next year for 2010, we all may be singing a different song - me included!




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