Gratitude 003: Stuff That’s Done Well

I’m 36 years old, which is a little old to finally admit that not everything just works like it’s supposed to. Unfortunately, it’s true. I got so worked up last year when I couldn’t just use the online portal to sign up for health insurance. I HAD to call the toll-free number multiple times to get my application moving through the process. Ugh. The phone. Then, when I was signed up, my new provider encouraged me to go to their online portal to select my primary care provider. Well, after 20 minutes and countless futile attempts to find my PCP in their system, (SO MANY different search terms: first name only, last name only, different locations, partial names, etc) I gave up and again placed a phone call (ALWAYS the last resort). The very pleasant customer service representative informed me that, “Yeah, I see he’s not in there. Sometimes that tool doesn’t work very well. I can add him for you.” Argh!!! Why do you offer the service if it doesn’t work well?! I thought to myself. I know everyone makes mistakes (my personal rate has been climbing lately), but I just felt like if you are a big entity, things should work when you release them! Well, my rational and much more emotionally stable better half, who has the amazing ability to first see the good in people, has helped me realize that this world is just full of people, and people aren’t perfect. Everyone is just doing the best they can do. All the time. When I look at it that way, I relax. I mean, that is exactly how I want others to view me. I will make a mistake or say something rude in the heat of the moment. I want others to give ME the benefit of the doubt in those situations and say of me, “He’s just doing the best he can do. Everybody makes mistakes.”

Wow, that turned into quite the rant! Back to the point. Today’s post is really about how in a world full of people, when something is done well it really stands out.  And I’m grateful for it. Today I’m grateful for the teacher onboarding support for the educational technology tool Seesaw. As a teacher, I’m often trying out new technology tools to see if they would be good to use with my students. I usually go straight to their help section to view videos to get up to speed on the tool as fast as possible. Seesaw just blew me away with how much thought and effort they put into their tutorials and videos. They made rolling out their tool in a classroom so easy. Yes, they have a huge incentive to do so. But so does every other similar classroom tech tool. Seesaw stood out because they did it WELL. And I was grateful.

The idea with this year of gratitude is that instead of just thinking how great someone or something is, I need to do something with that gratitude. At the very least it can be writing about it here, but more often I want to send a note of appreciation to someone to express my gratitude outward. It seems easy to be angered by something  enough to send a letter of complaint, but it seems like the threshold of joy we must feel to be moved to send a letter of gratitude is so much higher. So, with this in mind, I sent Seesaw an email of thanks. I’m not sure if anyone will read it, but it felt good to imagine that someone will get to work tomorrow morning with a note in their inbox telling them what a good job they have done with something that they have obviously spent a lot of time and effort worrying about and working on.

So, here is the email I sent off to Seesaw. Hopefully it makes someone’s day!

I don’t have any questions, but I wanted to respond anyway to express how impressed I am with the online teacher support offered by Seesaw! I recently signed up for an account and was playing around with the interface in order to put together a training resource for the teachers in my district. I did a deep dive into your online teacher resources and was incredibly impressed. Not only have you removed any barriers to teachers using your product with your brief and easy-to-follow tutorials, but you have provided so many ideas for how to use your product so that teachers can keep the early momentum going. Most impressive are the rollout plans created in Google Docs. They easily present a comprehensive collection of tasks teachers can complete to achieve a successful classroom rollout.
I create accounts for a LOT of educational technology tools in order to check them out to see if they would be worthwhile to share with teachers. Seesaw has the best teacher onboarding resources I have seen, hands-down. I hope other EdTech companies are taking notes! Please feel free to share this email with those at Seesaw who deserve the praise!
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