Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Astronomical Society of the Pacific

I tried to post to this blog this morning, but was apparently down, so I couldn't get in. No worries. I drove to Tucson (about two hours south of Phoenix)* this morning to present a workshop at the national conference of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. This was my first workshop to present since starting Kepler Education. Overall, it went quite well, aside from the fact that ASU's office manager copied my double sided worksheets as single sided, but oh well. Fortunately, I had the master with me, and the participants didn't need those particular sheets for very long, so they just shared the master. The workshop was basically teaching the participants how to design an educational activity that meets national standards. I didn't get into the writing part, since that really can't be taught in two hours! Nevertheless, it was very well received. I may have another speaking engagement lined up as a result, and a dozen or so of the participants made a point to get my business card.

The only real downside was that my former boss was "co-presenting." In reality, she had nothing to do with the original proposal and really knew nothing about what I was going to do (nor, it must be said, does she know anything much about curriculum design, so she can't really be faulted for that). She was definitely not happy with the fact that I was running the show, but there wasn't much she could really contribute to the topic. She was rather rude during the presentation, though. She was sitting up front where everyone could see her, so she made a big show of taking out her laptop to work on something else while I was talking. At one point, she got up in the middle of the talk and left the room (passing right behind me), only to return about five minutes later in the same way. Now, I'm pretty sure I had these teachers so engaged that they really weren't paying attention to her, so I really doubt they noticed. And if they did, I think it was more of a reflection on her than it was on me, so I'm not really upset about it.

The lesson to be learned here, though, is that no matter how hard you try to make your departure from your day job on as good as terms as possible, you're still going to get resentments. She desperately wants me to fail, and while she's not outright sabotaging me (at least, not in front of me), she's certainly not helping matters. Fortunately, I have actually built up far more "street cred" as an education writer than she has, so I don't really need her help. That doesn't mean I want her actively working against me, though. When you finally jump out into a full-time writing career, you're going to get this kind of resistance, and not just from your former employer. I'm blessed by an extremely supportive wife, and I'm really thankful for that. Not everyone is so lucky. You might not be either, but don't let that get in the way of your dream. You only live once, after all!

*As a side note, I had planned to rent a plane and fly to Tucson. I could have made it in half the time and had a much more enjoyable trip. Unfortunately, renting a plane isn't cheap, especially with gas prices the way they are (aviation gas is running about $4.90/gallon). I decided to quit my day job, so for the time being, our household income has been cut in half. We're still doing okay, but some sacrifices have to be made. Flying is the obvious one. I'm bummed about that fact, but writing is (surprisingly, to those that know me) more important to me than flying, so it's a choice I make willingly. Who'd a thunk?

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