Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How Teaching is like Running...and Running is like Teaching

The countdown is on and the final days of summer are here. It's been a great summer - I  participated in a lot of races, worked on cleaning up my diet a bit more (minus the fact that I ate a ton of ice cream from The Whole Scoop), and watched way too many episodes of Criminal Minds, Tosh.O and Family Guy.  I had some great runs with my sole sisters, without having to worry about lesson planning or cutting out laminating afterwards (ugh!).

Meeting Area
I've always said that running has allowed me to be a better teacher. I am more patient and in a better mental space to deal with the chaos of managing and teaching twenty four and five year olds all day long. Running gives me the energy to keep up with them all day long. Running has also helped me understand the goal setting, and adjusting, process - something I do daily with my kiddos as a classroom piloting Mass Customized Learning (MCL). I also believe that running has helped me be a healthy role model for my kiddos - I can take care of my students needs better, because I know how to take care of myself.

It occurred to me this summer, that maybe teaching has helped me be a better runner as well. Anyone who has been through a teacher prep program knows the emphasis placed on reflection. Write a reflection on your lesson, reflect on why this student is struggling, reflect, reflect, reflect. When it comes  down to it, getting faster and stronger in running is all about reflection too. I log my runs daily (using three different websites, and a printed out spreadsheet - yes, I am that O.C.D.) AND I record my workouts and everything I eat in a journal. But I don't just log them and never look at them again. I go back...frequently. Bad run? I go back to see what I have done for workouts in the last few days/weeks and what I've eaten. Awesome run? I do the same. Before big races I go back and check out what I did/eat prior to previous races that I either rocked or tanked on. This has become part of my daily "wellness" routine.

Small Groups/Me "desk"
This time of the year is always stressful for me, and I don't stress out easily. The demands of being a kindergarten teacher in September are high, requiring lots of hours after school and before school at work, time making parent phone calls, and lots of cutting, laminating, creating, ect. Traditionally, this has been a hard time for me to get all the runs in on my schedule each week. The exception was last year. Last year, I SHOCKED myself by not missing a single workout in the weeks leading up to school  and the first month of school, training for MDI. I needed a confidence boost to ensure that I could do this again, so I went back to the logs and made a game plan...

1. Schedule the workouts in the plan book a week-2 weeks out and switch em up when the schedule calls. Open house next Thursday = mid week 8 miler will NOT happen that day...but it WILL happen the day before!

2. Remember - I cannot be an effective teacher if I am burnt out and not taking care of myself. On those days I want to stay at school till 7PM and forego the run...remember..PURPOSE. Chances are staying until 7PM won't make me a better teacher the next day. Getting my run in and being healthy (mentally and physically), will.

3. If I am really burnt out and need a rest day, I will take one. But not because I am planning on pulling an all nighter making stuff for my kiddos or planning (done that one too many times in past Septembers). A rest day will be a rest day...

4. Plan out my meals for the week on Sunday, and even prep some on Sunday as well. I am not worried about executing this one...I feel like I have made this habit over the last year.

5. Stop. Enjoy. Breath. Enjoy. Although the beginning of kindergarten is a lot of work, it is amazing fun. The kids change SO much within the nine months I have with them. At the end of the year, they are completely different little people. Every year I get to June and reflect back on how far they have come, and regret not taking more time to enjoy how little they know in September. They are innocent. They are cute. They say the darnest things! And, it's a testament to the work we do at our school how far they come in a year. This year, I will try to appreciate it a little bit more, instead of compulsively analyzing where they are at and looking forward to what I need to teach them next...

But in reality, I can't help it. It's the teacher in me...or, maybe, it's the runner in me...

My leveled library

Another small group area

1 comment:

  1. Your room is so cute!!!! I know you are an amazing teacher - I can just tell. And next week - really? Ugh!