Saturday, August 20, 2016

Unlimited You

I ran a seven mile road race earlier this evening. The school year started for me, Friday, when teachers officially returned to work. There are quite a few connections that I made between these two events over the course of seven miles.

The race starts down hill. My pace is fast. The school year starts fast, too; there is a lot to get done to get the year off to a seamless start.

Once you get down a hill, you have to come back up a hill. My pace slows down. This is true for the school year, too. Eventually you start to settle in to go at a rate that you can sustain throughout the distance.

My watch beeps. I've run one mile. This is a check-point; you could make the comparison to a benchmark assessment, progress monitoring, the end of a quarter, a trimester, or a semester. How am I doing? What do I need to alter based off of my performance.

My watch beeps, again. I've run two miles. The first mile is usually run at a quicker pace, as I mentioned earlier, the second mile usually slows down a bit. When I look at my watch, I'm almost shocked to see that my pace has increased. It's way too fast. I can't sustain this pace over the course of seven miles. Wait! What? I'm telling myself that I can't do something. That's a self-fulfilling prophecy. I can continue at this pace. I WILL continue at this pace.

As educators, we will have enough things throughout the course of the year that will make our jobs difficult. Our own self doubt should NOT add into that mix. Yesterday, I showed the following video to our teachers. It has a GREAT message - we can do anything!

I continue on. And with this new attitude, my pace continues to increase. I am pushed by the pack ahead of me. They are where I want to be so I devote myself to gaining ground on them. I'm not focused on the finish line, but instead I am focused on the next person in front of me. Get to him/her, I tell myself, and then the next, and then the next; eventually, I will get to the finish line.

I am also pushed by the shadow alongside of me. I'm not going to settle for where I am. I have to keep moving forward. I cannot let the shadow behind me catch me.

There is a water station. I stop and get a quick drink. These are the opportunities that we have throughout the year to recharge our batteries - Thanksgiving break, winter break, spring break.

My headphones died! What?! I did not expect this to happen. This, the unexpected, is the norm in education. We just keep going. We deal with it the best that we can, and we try to make improvements while we just keep going. And it is okay; the race continues.

I'll also mention that it was a windy race. I went into today thinking that the heat would be the biggest element that I'd battle for an afternoon/evening race in Iowa, in August. I was wrong. Temperature wise, it was very pleasant, but there was a strong wind. A wind that I didn't expect. I had to deal with that, too. How often does that happen to us as educators? We are expecting A, but then we receive B. It happens all the time. And, again, we deal with it.

It's the final stretch of the race. It's the end-of-the-school-year. I can see the finish line. It's almost summer. Will I coast? Or will I kick? I kick. I set a PR in a race that I've ran four times. I finish strong.

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