How I Got Over Career Impostor Syndrome

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This morning an interesting article popped up in my feed entitled “6 Ways to Get Over Impostor Syndrome and Get the Job You Want”.  According to the author, Jillian Kramer, Impostor Syndrome is “”the feeling that we just don’t stack up to our coworkers and job competitors, that we sneaked in on pure luck, and that we just don’t belong.”  I certainly know what that feels like.  I had struggled with these feelings when I first started working as the Educational Technology Manager at The Master’s University.

My Problem

In early 2015, the University decided to expand the support of their Learning Management System (then Joule/Moodle) from a 10 hr/week support position to a full Educational Technology Department.  I was hired to head up that initiative.  Immediately feelings of inadequacy and fear came crashing in.  There was little documentation and even less training.  What if I wasn’t good enough? How can I possibly support users in a field I hadn’t studied? What if I let my employers down? What business did I really have being here anyway? 

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How an Impromptu Video Can Sometimes Be the Best Means of Communication

As a technology and training manager, I often create online training videos on a variety of topics, but recently I had an interesting problem to solve:

The problem

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A client is facing a pending software migration to Office 365 and they had to make some quick decisions to solve a particular issue his team has been facing.  We were asked to research potential solutions and our team drafted a 10-page report of qualified research listing the potential options.  The problem? The person who needed to make the decision was out of the office and would only return two days before the migration was scheduled.  This was a busy individual and we knew that it was very unlikely that he would have time to read the report, make a decision, and give us enough time to implement the solution.  At best, we would only have a few minutes of their time, so we decided to create a video to demonstrate our proposal in a concise and organized manner.

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How to View All Student’s Grades on a Single Page in Canvas

I currently work as the Educational Technology Manager at The Master’s University.  Over this past year I have headed an extensive project to transition from our old Learning Management System (LMS), Joule (Moodle), to our new LMS, Canvas.  It was quite an incredible learning opportunity – especially since the transition was mostly completed in just over four months! – and I hope to blog more about what I learned in the near future.  In the meantime I wanted to share a quick time-saving Canvas tip:

The Problem:

Our academic counselors and advisers were spending too much of  time trying to track down what their student’s overall grades were in Canvas.  This was significantly limiting the time they actually had available to advise and assist the student.  Logging in as the student was too time consuming.

The Solution:

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Tips for the Church Pianist: Part 2 – The How-To’s of Functional Improvisation

This is the second post in a mini-series on practical tips for the church pianist.  Many of these notes were taken during a seminar with John Martin at the Grace Music Collective hosted by Grace Baptist Church and are shared with permission.

Piano Keys

In the previous post, I discussed the heart of the church musician and the importance of keeping the role of a pianist in perspective.  But once we have the right view of our role and the right heart of service, how do we practically apply that?  The piano is probably the most versatile instrument in the band.  We have the power to completely obliterate the band, but we must control ourselves and our instrument and determine the best ways we can contribute to congregational worship.

John shared that there are various areas we should consider and gave us suggestions of tools in each area we can use in any song.  These areas include:

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Tips for the Church Pianist Part 1

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the first Grace Music Collective, an instrumental workshop designed to train musicians how to better serve in the church.  The seminar was hosted at Grace Baptist Church, and sessions included acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, and keyboard.

I was so excited to be able to attend the “Keyboard in Worship” session by John Martin!  While piano was my primary instrument in college, my training was primarily classically focused and, for the most part, did not prepare me to play in a modern worship setting.  I’ve been trying to teach myself, but as playing by ear doesn’t come naturally to me, the task has been daunting.  

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The Instrumental Petting Zoo: Spit!

Photo Credit Anyjazz65

This is the third post in a mini series regarding the concept of an instrumental petting zoo.  In previous posts, I discussed the concept of the petting zoo as well as how to select and find instruments.

One of the most vital concepts to the success of the petting zoo is sanitation.  With so many sicknesses and diseases spreading, your petting zoo will be shut down if the parents are not convinced that the zoo is being handled in the most sanitary means possible.  To that end, Jana recommends that you have the following supplies:

  1. Paper Towels
  2. Rubber Gloves
  3. Hand Sanitizer
  4. Disinfectant spray
  5. Sterisol Germicide Concentrate

Multiple bottles of hand sanitizer should be placed at every station and all volunteers should wear rubber gloves and either change gloves between each child or put hand sanitizer over the gloves.  The most important sections to disinfect are the brass and woodwind sections as the spit lends itself to a higher risk of germs.  For the brass instruments and bodies of the woodwind instruments, liberally spray disinfectant spray onto the paper towels and wipe them down gently.  You can reuse reeds for the woodwind instruments, however they must be soaked in a concentrate of Sterisol for about twenty minutes before they can be used again.  Jana warns the kids prior to the start of the event not to grab anything as they might grab something that has not been disinfected.  They must wait until a volunteer hands it to them.

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The Instrumental Petting Zoo

Photo Credit Anton Broberg Holm https://www.flickr.com/photos/enton_89/3414651655
Photo Credit Anton Broberg Holm

A few weeks ago we had a guest speaker at The Master’s College, Jana Gruss, who introduced us to the concept of an instrumental “petting zoo”.  While the idea seems somewhat far fetched, Jana shared how instrumental (pardon the pun) the idea has been in exposing children to music and recruiting them into bands and orchestras throughout the schools.  As music leaders, we should be the Pied Piper of music to others, sharing the passion we have for our craft and drawing others to it.  I hope to use the next few posts to share this wonderful idea:

The key idea behind the instrumental petting zoo is getting the children to discover the sound they love the most.  Are they a blower or a non-blower?  Do they like the soft, flute-like sound or the loud, brassy sound?What feels most comfortable to them?  There is no right answer to these questions and every child will be different in their preference.  It is important not to pressure them toward one instrument or another, but to let them choose an instrument and sound that they can fall in love with and enjoy playing for years to come.

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The Instrumental Petting Zoo: Tips and Tricks

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Photo Credit Rachel

This is the conclusion of a mini series on the Instrumental Petting Zoo.  In previous posts, I shared the concept of the petting zoo, how to select and find instruments, and tips for dealing with spit and cleanliness.  At the end of Jana Gruss’s presentation, she called up several volunteers to demonstrate how to teach the kids to play the various instruments. I thought I would conclude this mini series by sharing some of her ideas.

It is important to remember that the main goal of the petting zoo is to expose the children to the various instruments and help them pick the sound and feel that they like best.  To that end, it is very important that the kids are able to make decent sounds as quickly as possible.  Too many failures will cause them to become easily frustrated.  Jana also recommends using silly phrases and terms to describe how to hold or play the instruments.  This keeps the event light-hearted and makes it a fun experience for the children.  I have included some of these expressions below.

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