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Absolutely Nothing, I mean - Everything to Do with Education

Rebecca Gibboney, Author of The Tiebreaker

The other day I had one of those moments. Those moments where you just want to crawl in a hole and say “don’t look at me, don’t look at me”. Yes, that kind of moment. The thing is, however, it had absolutely nothing to do, but everything to do, with education.

I had to make a quick stop at Wegmans after a long day at work. I pulled into the parking spot, grabbed my purse, and went to open the door, per my usual. And, then it happened.


The panic alarm sent me into a panic. I was physically in my car while the panic button was annoyingly drawing attention to my inner panic. So, I did what every logical person does. I just kept pressing the panic button over and over again.


I jumped out, feverishly trying to end this nightmare. As people started to stare, I figured I would just press the panic button harder and it might magically turn off. The more I panicked, the harder I pushed.

Until I saw a familiar face. A local principal walked over to me, laughing (I mean, I don’t blame him), and said, “Becky, I thought that was you”.


For the next couple of minutes, he did nothing but stand by me as we laughed and I fumbled through the buttons on my keys. He did not try to fix anything. He just stood there and took on the embarrassment with me. And, what do you know, in about three more tries, the panic settled as I laughed with relief.

Why this tiny shimmer of embarrassment has absolutely nothing but everything to do with education:

  1. At that moment, I felt like all eyes were on me and this moment defined me. When in reality, this was a tiny moment of panic in my day that only led to laughter and a blog post a month later.

How often, right now, do we feel like all eyes are on us? How much stress and pressure do we put on ourselves because we feel like this year is defining us? But, my question for you is, does it really? I always am one to believe that you can only determine what defines you. Are you letting this year define you or are you letting your response, your call to action, you ten years prior to the pandemic define who you are as an educator? I am a firm believer that we go through moments in life to prepare us for the future, whatever that may look like. One day, you will look back at this year and your efforts and chuckle or admire or maybe even facepalm yourself thinking why did I ever do that? Maybe your experiences will turn into a blog post, a book, or even a mentoring session. Either way, these moments only define you if you let them.

  1. Panic does not mean push harder frantically. It might mean through back a chuckle, give yourself a little smirk and then try, try again.

100% guilty. Often when I panic, the rabbit hole begins. The stress headaches, the shoulders to my chin kind of tension, the idea that if I do more, I will panic less. However, I am finding it’s quite the opposite. The more I panic, the harder I push, the louder my panic alarm sounds both internally and externally. I’m learning the best solution is to step away and tackle the list one by one. The beeping never stopped the more I panicked. It only stopped when I collected myself and tried again.

  1. Perhaps we do not need someone to fix it, but we need someone to stand with us.

The whole time in the grocery store I could not wipe the smirk off my face. Yes, I was that girl in the parking lot; but, I was amazed how much comfort I found with just having a friend stand beside me. He literally took on the embarrassment with me. Sometimes, isn’t that all that we need? You may have recently had a flop of a lesson. Or, maybe you just cannot seem to get the hang of all the new platforms out there. Perhaps, you just feel like you cannot keep up. Yet, I have all the confidence in the world in you that you will get there. You will! It just will be at your own pace and that is okay. Just like in that parking lot, I eventually figured it out. I eventually stopped the panic, not after the first minute or the second but after the third. You do not need someone to step in and fix it; you will figure it out. You need someone to stand with you. It could be in silence; it could be in laughter. I encourage you to find your someone; and, I encourage you to be that someone for someone else.

Rebecca Gibboney


When did work become so serious? Who said it had to be? Imagine heading into a

workplace where the fun is just as important as the work. What if you (yes you!) were the one who could unlock all of the fun for your colleagues? In The Tiebreaker, Rebecca Gibboney gives educators the scouting report on how to build a culture of gamification for professional learning. Filled with gamification examples, a game plan, and the keys to victory, the question remains…

Do you have what it takes to lead your team to victory?

After all, you could be THE TIEBREAKER!

Rebecca Gibboney is currently the Program Coordinator of Professional Learning at BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, but started her career in education in 2010 as a Spanish teacher and Instructional Coach in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. She continues to provide fun and engaging avenues for adult learning while challenging the traditional mindset of professional learning. There is no reason why professional learning experiences cannot add some fun to the workplace!

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