Travel Does Stink, but Alan November was Great.

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Mr. Alan November.I survived my first business related travel experience. Barely. There were a couple of bumps in the road (get it… travel… bumps in the road… you don’t get this type of 5th grade humor just anywhere… well, maybe from a 5th grader), but for the most part the trip was okay.

And by okay, I mean just okay. As in I didn’t die or cry myself to sleep. Not that I slept well in a strange place.

I still don’t understand how people do this all of the time. The hotels, finding someplace to eat, the hotels, the messed up routine, and the hotels. Did I mention the hotels?

It is just not natural to sleep in someone else’s bed. Especially if 1,237 “someone’s” have slept in that same bed before you. And by sleep, I mean… well, never mind because if I say it you will never go back to a hotel (and I could open myself up to legal proceedings in Alabama…. so says the legal department).

So, I will keep these thoughts to myself, much like I try not to think about how many students and parents touch the door handle of the school office on a daily basis.

While I was at the conference, I decided to ask salespeople (did you know salespeople in Latin means; evil bloodsucking devil children? I’m serious… Google it) who were there how they liked traveling for their job.

They all had the same attitude when I asked them questions about business travel (I not only have a Blog; I am a miniature Ron Burgundy).

The nice salespeople (not really… see devil children) got a glazed look in their eyes, cocked their heads to the side, and mumbled something to the effect of, “Travel is okay and I never get tired of breakfast at McDonald’s, dinner at Applebee’s, cold showers, and sleeping in a disgusting hotel bed.”

The glazed look told me they would rather be home with their families.

I felt the same way after only a couple of days. I missed my wife, my unemployed daughter, my pillow, my bed, my shower, my computer, my refrigerator, my TV, and my routine. I even missed school (any chance that changes by about 8:27 on Monday morning?).

But the important thing is I survived.

One good thing that came out of the week was attending a conference presentation that was actually good. And not just good, but great.

I listened to Alan November for 2 hours. It seemed like 12 minutes and 14 seconds (I have a stopwatch in my head).

He talked about the future of education, technology, and how as administrators we need to change the way we think about teaching our students.

This includes classroom technology, the internet, teacher evaluations, testing, length of class periods, etc. He has a strong belief that educators should be using resources that allow them to interact with teachers and students from all over the world; not just down the hall.

As an administrator who has the opportunity to sit through 37 meetings a week; this was the best presentation that I have had the pleasure of hearing.

He had just the right amount of information, sprinkled with a little sarcasm and just a hint of anger.

Who am I kidding? He may be my biological father (I wonder if he has an alibi for New Year’s of 1967?).

Anyways, he was excellent. After sitting through 14 sessions, this was a welcome and much needed surprise.

Our school district won’t be able to implement everything he talked about at once, but we can work towards it slowly but surely.

I was so excited after listening to him, that I briefly considered flying to Boston to thank him. Then I remembered the hotel bed thing.

Maybe I will just call. Or Skype. Or maybe, he can just read this blog.

He is correct about one thing; the world is getting smaller. And the people that understand this best are our students.

I wonder if they understand the hotel bed thing.

If you get a chance to hear Mr. November present, run don’t walk. You won’t be sorry. Unless you have to stay in a hotel.

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9 Responses to “Travel Does Stink, but Alan November was Great.”

  1. Cathy Nelson
    on Apr 27th, 2008
    @ 10:51 am

    Sorry you dd not enjoy the escape from home. I take my pillow everywhere I go, even if it means a larger suitcase. Then and only then am I fooled into believing the sleep is somewhat going to be like it is in MY bed at home.

    As far as your thoughts on Alan November, you echo mine. I’ve heard him several times at different conferences, and each time he has the same presentation, but has sprinkled it with enough updated info that it never ceases to amaze me how much I enjoyed it or how fast the time went by.

    LAst time he was in SC, he couldn’t get any of his Skype contacts to reply to a skype call so he could demo–so I called him form the audience. Yes, shock, he looked out and asked where I was, then happily accepted my call. So you coud say I helped, though the point was that skype makes the world smaller. It was fun anyway. Oh yeah, did I mention since i have a webcam my head was on both of the humongous screens used at the front of the keynote hall? I was embarrased for thinking I was actually helping him then.

    But he is really a wonderful speaker, and I’m glad his message resonated with you. I hope other administrators were in the audience too. AND even more, I hope they will go back to their schools and ask why aren’t we doing this?

  2. zoe
    on Apr 28th, 2008
    @ 8:52 am

    I like it the blog alot. It is great.

  3. Alan
    on May 14th, 2008
    @ 7:14 am

    I was in junior high when you were born. While possible, not likely that I am your father. Thanks for the lucid, honest, and funny review of my work. Your post is an inspiration for me. I am packing my pillow.

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