It's only 7:44 and I am exhausted, so I have decided I will set a 10 minute limit for myself to just quickly get down some ideas
and then I will go to bed. I wrote a facebook update about a two-day conference I went to and I just had to expand because it truly was the most odd conference/training I have ever been to. In the interest of time, I am going to bullet point the hilarity and weirdness of it all. I am also purposely not posting what conference it was, but I'd be happy to tell you privately if you so wish. Let me also say that this was a research-driven, educational conference I was attending. School districts sent representatives to the conference to come back to their sites and then train others.
- We were given worry dolls (little tiny dolls) and we had to name our worries out loud and then tell them to a partner. We then spent another 20 minutes decorating coffee mugs with the answers to our fears. We were told that it helps with schizophrenia and disturbed thoughts. (I somehow missed the connection between me as a teacher and schizophrenia...)
- The first day, we had a 8 hour training and only 20 minutes (I am NOT kidding) was spent doing the thing we came to learn. The rest of the 7 hours 40 minutes was getting us to feel empowered by telling us weird, inappropriate stories.
- Such stories included telling us one of the instructor's IQ; one of the instructors telling us she could "smell a drunk" and "knew if they had cats" immediately upon entering an elevator with someone; telling us she used to be a Roman Catholic, but now she was a pentecostal - because she "discovered the truth" and then invited her pastor up to introduce himself; one instructor telling us his political beliefs; one told us that her mom was leukemia free and that prayer works; one told us that the other day in church a homeless man was sitting in the pews and when another woman was making disparaging remarks, our instructor walked over and talked to her. Again, what does that have to do with this training? It was literally as if whenever a thought occurred to either of them, they just blurted it out randomly.
- They led us in prayer before we ate lunch the first day.
- He discussed this game for a good amount of the presentation over the course of the two days and then never told us how to play it or gave us any info on how to do it (although, I do know that if I were to play it, I will save kids from "drug trafficking, sex trade...and the Taliban")
- They regularly said "Oh yeah, those instructions in the packet we gave you were wrong...You need to add a step in..." or "Oh. Sorry. We use those terms interchangeably, but they are the same thing..."
- They KEPT saying over and over and over about how it was scientifically proven that if we implemented the program, we would see a 14% improvement in our test scores. Then day 2 when someone asked if the instructors had a video of it in action because she was having a hard time visualizing it, they said that it had only been done in an academic lab setting, which is why they didn't have any videos. Ummmm? Then how do you know I'll get a 14% improvement?
- She cried several times throughout the presentation at random times. It was uncomfortable and weird. One time was when she was giving a man who came to show us a 3D video (that had nothing to do with what we came to learn) a recycled aluminum can pin to wear. She also talked to us several times about re-purposing and how we should buy re-purposed art (like telephone wire bracelets) which she also sold at lunch the second day.
- We had to break down the tables, chairs, etc. at the end of each day because they were having church service in the room.
- It was the most unorganized, non-linear, "let me NOT tell you how to actually do this program" type of training I have ever been to. Ever. But what was funny was that they kept saying over and over that we HAD to follow the PROTOCOL exactly or we wouldn't get results. Ummm....what protocol?!?