Yesterday and today, I’m in Des Moines for the 2021 Iowa Council for Social Studies Annual Conference. Last year, like the rest of the world, it was held virtually and I got some valuable information from the sessions that I watched. I did appreciate being able to watch them in the quiet and relative calm of my home. This year, the conference is being held face to face in Des Moines which means travel, hotel, the whole nine years. I’m down here by myself so that’s always uncomfortable, but have managed to get a couple of things done.


I just can’t right now. First, I’ve managed to screw up my lesson plans. I HATE screwing them up. It reflects on badly on me, and honestly, I cannot say that it’s ever happened before. Subs usually comment on how detailed my plans are and how they are nicely laid out. It’s not a brag, it’s just how I do it. I was a substitute teacher for a year and came across garbage for sub plans. My vow at that point: This will not happen my classroom, period. Well, there’s a first time for everything. Apparently, I didn’t key up a video, so great, I’m an idiot to a sub that I really respect for his years in education and dedication to kids.


Next, came into a session, and sat down. Apparently, a swarm of teachers had all ready come in and sat down, leaving their things which I didn’t notice until they all swarmed around me. Nicely done. I despise drawing attention to myself and there’s nothing like have a group just giving you the “what the heck” look as they come in.


My social anxiety is usually about a 5 out of 10 on a good day. I’m quiet and if I don’t know you, I warm up slowly. It turns people off so it’s hard to create lasting friendships or to maintain them. I’m amazed my wife is still with me because, while she’s not the talker that her dad was, she’s much more comfortable in social situations. The pandemic hasn’t helped because I’ve not had to go anywhere or if I did, I’m with people I’m very comfortable with so it’s all good. Or so I thought.

So, after those to screw ups, we’ve amped up that anxiety to an 8. The one thing that bring me the most stress, looking like an idiot, has happened twice in the span of 15 minutes. Now, I feel real uncomfortable, so I’m less likely to speak out, so I’m more quiet. It’s a cycle that is very hard to break and that’s a whole different blog! 🙂

And it’s not that I’ve not tried. There was a time where I forced myself to speak up at meetings, to try that whole small talk thing, and it just made me almost physically sick. Thus, here I am.


The problem, this is a good conference! I like the topics and the presentations, but good grief, we are pulling out a lot of calming techniques.

Here’s hoping for a better afternoon.