Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Open Letter / Thank You to Some People Who Matter #edtech

Before I get to tonight's blog post for my Web 2.0 project, I still need to post information to the IETC Ning.  But before I do that, I must share this with you.  Forgive me if I ramble a bit during this post, I am going on six hours sleep over the last 56 hours or so.  This post isn't about a tool (that will come later, if I can stay awake), but about people. And, hopefully, will share how my social network friend Angela Maiers has changed my perspective on life.

Angela is one of my favorite people within my PLN (Professional Learning Network).  Not only because she shares great information about education and technology (which she does very well); but, because she never forgets that we are human and have an inherent need to feel appreciated and recognized.  Her daily bursts of information coming across my Twitter timeline and Facebook wall have mattered more to me more than she may ever know.

I work extremely hard at what I do regarding education and technology, because it is my passion. At IETC, many people asked how I find time to be as active as I am in the EdTech community.  Well, as humans we sometimes make sacrifices for our passion (such as sleep).  Those sacrifices often go unnoticed (and are often to the detriment of our own well being).  Which, can occasionally make one a tad, shall we say, "cranky"?  But, Angela is always there too save the day with a quick burst of recognition through her #youmatter campaign. If you have not seen her TEDxDesMoines Talk or read her most recent blog post: The 12 Most Important Ways to Let People Know They Matter, before continuing to read this post, take a minute to do so.

As I said, Angela matters to me more than she will ever know.  I have her TED Talk downloaded to my phone as an .mp3 and often listen to it on the way to work.  For me it's better than an energy drink (probably healthier too) and often empowers me to get through my day!  Her mission to make people matter has made me realize that in the craziness of life, I often forget that thank people for what they do.  And I'm starting to change that.

After spending the evening talking with educators and technology professionals, on the way back to my room, I encountered an Army private and even though I was dead tired, I stopped to thank him for his service to our country.  He thanked me in return and told me I made his day! Least I could do, right?

During my morning session at IETC, I made it a point to thank the people who attended my session and reminded them how much they mattered to me.  After all, without them, I would have no one with whom to share my knowledge and passion for education and technology!

As I was dragging myself down the hall after my session to checkout (remember 6 hours sleep in almost 3 days), one of the hotel housekeepers said "you're not leaving me are you?".  I thought she was talking to someone else and kept walking.  But, then she repeated herself  "Sir, you're not leaving me are you." and I realized she was talking to me, so I stopped a bit puzzled.  She must have noticed the exhausted look on my face and she seemed to be expressing genuine concern for my well being, reminding me to bundle up out there (it can be chilly in Springfield, Illinois this time of year), to get some rest and take care of myself.  I think I mumbled something along the lines of "I will" and moved on.  As I started to become more alert throughout the day I realized this woman had just taken the time in her own way to tell me "I matter".  She didn't have to do that.  It's not in her contract.  She had no idea was or what I do. She's not in my PLN, but she took the time to acknowledge my existence.

I realized all of this on the way home and sent the following message on Twitter: "To the housekeeper at the Holiday Inn Express Springfield, IL Thanks for your positive words and encouragement this morning " I then realized that may have seemed a little odd (especially since I told people earlier that morning to re-think what ever they post online) and in fact I received some responses asking me what in the world I was talking about.  Which is why I am writing this post.  Sometimes 140 characters doesn't do a story justice.

Here's what's interesting.  I was and am planning on sending an email to the management of this Holiday Inn Express, to let them know about this fantastic employee who really made a difference in my day.  But, I know someone already at corporate already knows about it, since @HolidayInn immediately started following me after the post.

So to that weary soldier, the people I met or re-connected with at #IETC, the housekeeper at the Holiday Inn Express in Springfield, IL, my PLN on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Google + and elsewhere on the web and most especially to my friend Angela Maiers - and I will never forget that!

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