August, September, and even into October can be a busy time for our trainers at Mastery Manager. We love going out and working with our education partners and being a part of their school environments, even if for just a day or two. So far this school year, we’ve conducted over 30 on-site training days! Ever wonder what it’s like to be a Mastery Manager trainer on the road? Come along with me as I venture into the wonderful world of traveling for work.
7:00 am: Got to the airport the requisite two hours early (I’m kind of a worrier, so I definitely heed the 2 hours before takeoff suggestion). Which typically means I’m sitting at the gate for quite some time before boarding. Not to worry… that’s what books are for!
9:00 am: I landed at the Jackson Hole Airport, in Jackson, WY, in sandals (coat packed as the district kindly told me to prepare for the cold). However, I did not know I would be exiting the plane outside the airport. That was a chilly walk! Once inside the airport, I quickly switched into real shoes, grabbed my coat from my bag, and found the shuttle bus to the car rental. Now, when I knew I was going to Wyoming, I started Googling the area. I have never seen the mountains and I was pumped for adventure. When I got to the rental car facility, the worker kindly asked me if I would need bear spray during my stay. Well, I hadn’t thought about a need for bear spray, so I quickly checked the back seat of the car … nope, no bears there! I hoped that would be the last time I had to worry about that and cautiously declined the bear spray, but I definitely rethought my plans to venture out for a trail run! In all seriousness, you know you’re in Bear Country when they are selling bear spray when you pick up your rental car.
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Even though I landed in Jackson, WY, I would be traveling into Lincoln County for the training. This meant a lovely drive through the mountains. I was in awe of my surroundings. The fall colors were incredible. My spirits weren’t dampened by the steady rain as I wound my way through the mountains into Star Valley. Quick check in to the hotel and I was off in search of food and candy for the training participants. Oh yeah… we know you like candy and always come prepared! Arriving on a Sunday, I quickly realized how very few stores or restaurants were open. This made for easy decisions on where to go. Dollar General and Pizza Hut for the win!
7:30 am: It was a quick 3 minute drive to the school. I know I say it a lot but I LOVE working with teachers. The training day was perfectly organized with multiple screens to project our training material and the teachers were engaged and ready to learn. Our day was set with a morning session of about 3 hours, a break for lunch, and then another pm session. As I was training in the morning, I glanced out the window and chuckled. I couldn’t stop myself as I turned to the participants and exclaimed, “It’s snowing!” Instead of looking at me like I was crazy, everyone seemed to smile and enjoy my general enthusiasm at seeing my first flakes of the school year. Now, being from Chicago, I know snow! It’s not a completely novel thing, but we’ve been enjoying some warm days, so I wasn’t fully prepared. At the break, I was invited to go to lunch with one of the administrators and his wife. We enjoyed a local restaurant that peaked my interest on Sunday and being that it was Monday, it was open. Bonus: I got to stop and take a picture of the World’s Largest Elk Antler Arch! I didn’t know what to expect when seeing the World’s Largest Elk Antler Arch, but it really is an arch made out of elk antlers. It spans the entire road and even has a couple elk on top.
12:30 pm: After lunch, it was back to the district office for the pm session on our new Item Bank 2 platform. Teachers were able to spend time learning about our program and create items to be used in their classrooms. There were many questions and the group was overall just wonderful to work with. The day wrapped up around 3:30. We said our goodbyes and I was back on the road again.
5:00 pm: I couldn’t make the two- hour drive (slower with the snow) back to the airport in time to fly out Monday night. This meant a stay in Jackson and a flight the next day. This is pretty rare for our training travels. We wouldn’t bat an eye to finish the day, catch a 7 or 8 pm flight, and be back in the office bright and early the next day. It felt like a luxury to have an extra evening in such a beautiful part of the country. My adventures in the evening included a walk around the town square where I saw even more elk antler arches, dinner out, and coffee with a good book.
7:00 am: Morning run and stop at a local bagel shop. I didn’t realize how much elevation there was in WY until running. Then it was off to the rental car, shuttle bus, and airport. I had plenty of time to start my post-training checklist (all the task we complete after training, including cleaning out the sample assessments created during training, expense reports, reflections, etc.) at the airport. It was a small airport so I got to relive that nutritious college lunch I had so many time on the run: chips and an iced tea! YUM.
1:20: Boarded the flight, once again in sandals but hey, I’m from Chicago and can handle the cold!
6:00 pm: Landed in Chicago. So close to home but first, public transportation: Blue line to the Green line and a quick walk home.
7:15 pm: Home and exhausted but happy.
I was back in the office Wednesday morning to prep for heading back out on the road the very next day. It was a whirlwind trip but definitely worth it. I would highly recommend heading out to Wyoming if you have the chance. Not only are the people friendly, the sights are incredible. Please enjoy a few pictures from my training adventures…. Is that a bear print?! I’ll let you decide!