The Moral of the Business Card in the Fish Bowl – by Pam Edwards

This is a story about good luck. It’s also about doing our jobs. 

A couple of years ago, I had to go to Las Vegas for a big convention.  I went early to enjoy the warm weather and rest up a little in advance.  As you can imagine, I was surrounded by the opportunity to gamble at every turn. However, I’m just not interested in gambling.  Many of my friends did and that was fine for them; it’s just not my thing, though.  I was in Vegas nine days and didn’t put a single nickel in a single slot machine.

Although I didn’t gamble with my cash, I did drop my business card in a fishbowl at the convention.  Maybe the odds weren’t much better than a one-armed bandit, but it was an opportunity that arose when I attended a conference session.  And, yes, I won.  The prize?  A Michele watch with 100 diamonds worth $1300.  

Was it gambling?  Here’s how I look at the situation. I simply attended the session I was asked to attend by my company. I won the watch by just doing my job.  Luck, as the old saying goes, is preparation meeting opportunity. 

We need to do that in education as well.  We need to do our jobs and sometimes that means trying something different.  Exploring new ways to prepare our students to meet opportunity is part of the job.  Sometimes we need to do the educator’s equivalent of dropping a business card in a fishbowl.  New technologies, such as the new tools based on neuroscience or social media or new classroom practices may seem like the equivalent of dropping a business card in a fishbowl, but there are real grand prizes out there by trying them and our students need them.

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