…running has quickly become something I’m quite passionate about and really love. It’s fun, addictive, calming, invigorating…it’s not for everyone, I know, but for me, it is something I wouldn’t give up for anything else.
Oh, I know I’m not the best. My times aren’t like others that I see posted on Facebook and Twitter, or have seen posted by long-time runners in marathons, but that’s okay. I’m always working to improve my running game.
There are many ways I work to improve myself as a runner. I set goals for myself (what I think of as reasonable goals – I hope) and work hard to attain them. I read articles and blogs about running. I follow runners on Twitter. Most importantly, I practice running all the time by, what else, running.
Oh, I know running has its drawbacks. Aches and pains. Getting the wrong shoes. Wearing the wrong clothes that rub you raw, don’t keep you warm enough in the cold (I hate the cold), or are just plain uncomfortable for running. If you run on the road, like I do (I hate treadmills, too), you have to contend with traffic and intersections. Animals on the loose (I’ve been chased more than once…oh yeah, and I was bitten once, too). And the, “I just don’t feel like doing this,” syndrome that you battle from time to time.
Despite all this, I still love running. You can always find the negative in things you do. The real trick is finding the little things you love about it and focusing on those little loves and joys to get you through the sucky parts.
Running isn’t my only passion in life. It’s also not the biggest passion, either (shocker).
My biggest passion is teaching.
I LOVE TEACHING!
It is something I’ve always wanted to do, to be. I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to be a teacher. It’s fun, addictive, inspiring…it’s not for everyone, I know, but for me, it is something I wouldn’t give up for ANYTHING else.
Oh, I know I’m not the best, but there are many things I do to improve as a teacher. I work in a school full of fantastic teachers that I’m constantly talking to and trying to learn from. I read books, articles, and blogs about a variety of teaching practices. I attend workshops and have been to (and really enjoy) a couple of edcamps. I follow educators on Twitter and Facebook. I look at my weaknesses and set goals for myself on how to improve them or new techniques to try each school year. Most importantly, I go to school each day, and I teach!
Oh, I know teaching has its drawbacks. High stakes testing (I teach 3rd grade). The endless amounts of forms and paperwork we have to fill out and submit for a variety of ridiculous reasons. Grading papers. High stakes test prepping (always great to come back from Christmas break and the first email you read is from one of your coordinators talking about test prep…in January…for a test that’s in April!). Lesson plans (takes a lot of time to come up with engaging, hands-on, worth-while lessons, but worth it). The lack of respect and support. The ever-changing laws, requirements, and standards that are handed down to us lowly, well-meaning, but just not doing a good enough job teachers. When that lesson you were really excited about bombed. High stakes testing (just because I really hate the stress and pressure put on my sweet 8- and 9-year old students).
Despite all this (and probably more that could be added, unfortunately), I still LOVE teaching. I love seeing their excited faces come through the door each morning. How excited many of them have become at learning new things and taking risks. Taking time for those kiddos that have a home life that can be kinda rough. Hanging out with them at recess; talking, playing, laughing, singing. When that magical light bulb comes on and they FINALLY get it. Seeing their progress throughout the year as they come in as “expert 2nd graders” (as I call them), and leave as “expert 3rd graders” ready to be 4th graders. And always, always love seeing former students come by and visit (I’ve even had students that weren’t in my class stop by to say hello).
These things, and so many others I’m sure I’ve missed, are reasons why I love teaching, and don’t want to do anything else. These things keep me going on those days when I just don’t feel like I can anymore. When I am frustrated, tired, uncertain if I’m making a difference; I look for those little joys and moments of happiness and success to keep me going through the sucky parts.