Once you get used to it, networking is much less awkward than this canned photo.

It’s 2:59pm. My next PD session starts in one minute and I have absolutely no idea where my assigned room number is. At this point, I’ve abandoned all pretense and am aggressively power walking around the sunlit hallways of Charles J. Colgan High School like a crazy person. As the futility of my quest increases, so too do the sweat stains under the arms of my blue blazer.

“Are you lost?” a blonde woman asks warmly.

“Kind of?” I reply smiling stupidly. “I teach here, but have absolutely no idea where this room is.”

“I get it. The second floor…

The rainy streets of Providence, Rhode Island. Home to Business Innovation Factory and moderate traffic.

To say I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived in Providence for Business Innovation Factory’s (BIF) annual summit, guitar and suitcase in hand, is an understatement. The only conferences I’ve attended previously have been small, local fare for educators and a handful of soccer coaching summits. I got the broad strokes of course, there’d be lots of handshakes, work related small talk, business card exchanges, and the promise of future, mutually beneficial profit. Standard stuff, right?

Well, not for a public high school teacher. If networking is supposed to be a transaction of potential goods, I was showing…

Trevor Aleo

Trevor is a teacher, creative, and nascent innovation junkie sharing his thoughts on education and beyond. For more follow him @MrAleoSays

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