But it is the things that I have done outside of the classroom that I want to talk about because those are great examples of me failing like a champion. The first is my work striving to be a Fred. I have tried to boost the morale slightly in the school. Contract negotiations were not going well, the school budget almost failed and teachers are being let go all over. So, I began putting little token gifts in peoples’ mailboxes. It started with a Sharpie marker for members of the science department, then I put candy for Valentine’s Day, followed up lollipops in March, and an Easter Egg filled with candy for Easter. While some teachers have commented to the secretary next to the mailboxes how nice it is to get these gifts, some people still have them in their mailbox! I noticed three mailboxes with lollipops and at least half a dozen with eggs. Plus there was that incident of some Sharpies left on the counter by the boxes as a clear indication they were unwanted. It is hard to make changes when my efforts are so blatantly unwelcomed.
Then there was the Teacher Tech Tip. Every Wednesday I began posting Teacher Tech Tips in the faculty rooms as a way to expose the staff to some Web 2.0 tools they may not have seen before. I have subtly asked around to see what they feeling was and if anyone was using. Almost every person I talked to said that they never even read them. Most had seen them, but never paid any attention to them. I put them right by the photocopiers hoping that teachers would read them as they were waiting for their copies, but nothing. That means basically no one benefited from the tips I was trying to provide.
So, what I have learned from all of this. First, even though most of my efforts were not completely welcomed, I felt really good while I was doing them. I had so much fun sitting in my living room with my son stuffing what seemed like 1000 plastic eggs (it was actually closer to 160) with candy and I discovered a bunch of great websites while researching web tools. Second, sometimes you have to water the rocks. A few people (and it was only a few) keep asking the secretary who was the “little elf” who kept leaving them treats because it always made them smile or it was such a great surprise to find a little gift to brighten their day. Maybe I didn’t help everyone, but I helped a few have a better day. Finally, you have to try to change the world. Maybe you will succeed, maybe you will fail (and it’s ok if you do), but no matter what happens you at least have to try.