Classroom Life,  Instruction,  Learning,  Process,  Training

Of Aqua Net and Apologies…. {Slice of Life}

Slice of Life logo

Recently, while hurrying through our teacher workroom before sunrise, a fellow teacher stopped me.

We worked together in Career & Technical Education a few years ago. She was a tech center instructor, while I served as an instructional coach, bringing pedagogy to CTE instructors.

Now, we both teach at the local high school.

“I owe you an apology,” she declared.

I quickly sifted through my not-yet-awake brain, but couldn’t think of a single reason. “No, I can’t imagine you do,” I answered.

“Oh, but I do,” she insisted.

Now she had my attention.

“Remember when you came out to XYZ  Tech (protecting the innocent) …  and tried to do training?”

I smiled, remembering in clear detail, the training sessions at her tech center. I listened. And kept smiling.

“Well….” she went on, apologetically, “…. we weren’t very nice to you.”

I was stunned.

Like angry waters pushing through a yielding floodgate, her words rushed through my head. “We were rude to you. We acted like snobs. We didn’t see how what you were teaching us had anything to do with us and our adult students at a tech center. We thought what you shared was for K-12 teachers, so we ignored you.”

Me {thinking}:   Never mind the tech center campus provides classes for adult and high school students, and effective learning strategies are effective learning strategies. Period.

I kept smiling, insisting that no, they weren’t rude.

Finally! I had answers to questions that bugged me back then (about four years ago)… Why did some of the participants write snarky, personal comments in their feedback?  Why was the mood so hostile?

I had never experienced such an uncomfortable training environment, one that required three training sessions over a few months and one that was in stark contrast to similar sessions happening at a fellow tech center campus, in which participants were collaborating on ways to build newly-learned strategies into their instruction, sharing how they’d tried strategies with their high school and adult students, and inviting me to visit their classes and see them in action. *Westside Tech, you were The Best to work with!! Thank you for your enthusiasm.  🙂

She pressed on….

“I had no idea what was in store for me ….. that a year later, I’d be here, teaching high school kids.  I struggle every day.”

After offering my colleague support in her current teaching assignment, we hugged as I shared, “Thank you. You helped me understand some things I wondered about for a while.”

As the first bell rang, teenagers pushed past us. We were caught up in the flood of feet heading to first period.

Aqua Net lingered on my clothing the rest of the day, reminding me that sometimes, an unexpected apology can put things in perspective….

I'm Sorry Sticky Note


  • RobinLK

    Thank you. Friends who’ve read me a while tell me that my ‘voice’ is emerging in my writing… I hope so! My humor is often peppered with sarcasm… I walk that fine line. 🙂

  • RobinLK

    Thank you, Ona, for visiting and commenting. They really ARE powerful, aren’t they? Something I continue to learn as the classroom years and life years go by…. I look forward to reading more of your work, as I grow my SoL community. 🙂 Found you on Twitter, too. Time to read about bus duty…
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • RobinLK

      Thank you, Tara. I can’t imagine any other way to have handled it, honestly. Seems like there’s a lesson every day.. of one sort or another.

  • Dana Murphy

    Robin, this is really powerful to me. I respect that person for offering you an apology. I think many a person would have just left that go unsaid. It makes me wonder how many of my own “bad” PD sessions that I’ve facilitated were bad because of where the participants where at that time, and maybe not necessarily because of my own facilitation moves? Hmmm.

    Also, love the detail you threw in at the end about the Aqua Net. That made me chuckle.

    • RobinLK

      Dana, it definitely gave me pause (and some relief..I won’t lie!). It was actually her Aqua Net that created the post in my head…. all day long! ?

Join the conversation...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: