It is especially important to me when teachers come up to me after a presentation or an address, and tell me that they enjoyed it, that they agreed (mostly) with what I had to say, and especially when they use words like inspiring. This is especially validating to me, because it is coming from teachers, partitioners of that of which I speak.
In the beginning, I was enormously intimidated by teacher audiences. They do for a living what I was about to try to do. They communicate compellingly, with goals of changing and enhancing people’s thinking, and teachers can be an especially difficult audience — though I find almost nothing but hospitality from the people I work with.
Yesterday, however, I got an especially pleasing validation. As I was going through the lunch line, picking through the delicious looking dishes based on my particular and peculiar variation of vegetarianism (more later about this, perhaps), a young man (well, younger than me) came up and said that he was not an educator, that he was at the conference with his wife.
He then described how he had just retired from Intel, and had spent thirty years in the technology industry. Enthusiastically (banging on my shoulder, threatening to topple my bowl of chowder), he kept saying how right my address was, that it wasn’t about the stuff, it wasn’t about the technology, that it was about the information, that the kids figure out the technology for themselves. They need us to teach them how to work the information.
Then he proceeded to talk about the new quad processors on the new something something HP computers, and it all just just swooped right over my head. Still, it was a unique compliment and made me feel like it was a good day.