“When I die I want my group members to lower me into the grave so that they can let me down one last time.” ~Someecards
When I first heard this quotation, I thought it was the funniest thing ever. Funny, because at the time, it was true. I was in a particularly difficult situation with a group and I felt that I was unequipped to handle the challenges.
This was unquestionably NOT the case for my Platform Evaluation!
Here is the thing… When a group works well together, is respectful of each others opinions, has members that equally do not want to let the “group down”, incorporates humour, and brings a level of professionalism to the table, EVERYTHING IS LIKE RAINBOWS AND UNICORNS. It’s the best. It is like going to Cloud Cuckoo Land. (Lego Movie reference for those of you who may not have seen this most excellent movie.)
But when one or more of these attributes are missing from a group’s dynamic, I find that an incredible amount of thinking time is wasted on wishing that the project would be over and/or wanting to stab myself in the eye with a pencil.
For this group project, I came late to the table. I erroneously gave our organiser my g-mail address with an “@shaw.ca” extension. Brilliant, I know. Days went by where my group mates hashed out the initial stages of our project without my input. Thankfully, one mate realized that the e-mails had been “undelivered” and I was brought into the planning.
I was “THAT” person. I very much loathe being “THAT” person. I do everything in my power to never ever by “THAT” person. So when it does happen, I go to “THAT” place. “THAT” place is the place that some of us people-pleasers go when they think that other people think negatively about them. I know. At the age of 43, I should adopt more of a “Honey-Badger attitude” (you HAVE to Google that one, if you do not know what I am talking about. Your welcome.). But alas, we are who we are, so I immediately thought that my entire group thought that I was a big loser who was in an educational technology Masters program, yet could not freakin even share her own email address properly.
So what do people-pleasers do in this situation? They make up for it and then some. Why? Because we have not only do our part but we have to make up for the perceived part that we perceived we didn’t do.
I truly hope I accomplished my mission.
But this is where my group really came through. Not once did they make me feel like I had to “make-up” for anything. It was all in my head. I admit to being a bit in Cuckoo Land on this one.
Funny story, though. My group mates don’t even this one (don’t tell them, OK?)
I had to bring my bit of the project to the Google Doc two days after everyone else due to my semester turnaround week at work. When I visit our Google Doc (the most excellent way to collaborate, on-line, in my opinion), I read the introduction that had us portrayed as a group of Grade 8 Middle School teachers from Vancouver. I thought to myself, “Great. I’m not part of the group.” I let it go. I thought, OK– I can pretend that I live in Vancouver and teach Middle School.” After all, I needed to be a team player. But then, after awhile, it started to bug me. My name was on this and I didn’t want to misrepresent myself! So I said something on the chat function of the Google Doc. After some back and forth, my group mate piped up and said, “Neither am I! I live in Thunder Bay and teach Math 10!” For some reason, I didn’t realize that the whole idea of this project was to write from one institution’s voice. We had a good laugh.
If I could change one thing about this particular experience, it would have been to have prioritized having a couple of Google Hangouts. I missed not having actual conversations with people and flushing things like not knowing that our scenario was fictitious. Completing this degree on-line is great for so many reasons, but I truly yearn for face-to-face experiences, as well. I think that as we venture into more on-line learning, that as educational technologists, we need to keep at least a smidgen of actual conversation into our practices. A screen just doesn’t cut it, 100% of the time– in my world anyway!