Saturday, April 29, 2017

Running... An Analogy

I think I like analogies, because they help me understand better all the time, because they can help the more complicated become easy, really to be creative.   I like them because they seem to help me make connections, help me to realize, and reaffirm at times.

This analogy is about running and assessment.  I recently ran a race, it was a half marathon through the woods, up an over some pretty tough climbs, through a river, slippery sides of a river, and thousand and thousands of large rocks that came up out of the ground.  It was slow going at times, this was the first time I ever had to walk in a race.  I went into it knowing that this was going to be the case, I knew at the end that my time, which most all races are measured in, would not indicate that I went very fast.

Throughout the race there were different sections that were challenges, falling a few times reminded me that I needed to take my time or risk being hurt.  Some of the climbs seemed to go on forever and then finally you would get that break.  I sped up whenever I felt I could.  Whenever I saw some flat ground and yards in front of me, I went as fast as my body would allow, knowing this part of the race was probably short lived.

I was prepared, I had practiced, and run for months leading up to this.  I knew I could run the distance, I only did not know if I was strong enough with all the hills and that my ankles/knees could survive the pounding of the path.  I questioned myself throughout and at one point at about mile 6 after a tough climb wondered for a second how disappointed with myself I would be if I gave up...

That is about when I thought about the analogy to school, but more specifically about assessment.  This race was a summative assessment of sorts.  I had practiced, put down some times leading up, and prepared.  I sort of knew the content, but specifics of what was was coming?  I did not know the specific questions or content.  During the process it was hard and easy at times.  I felt good and really bad at times.  I was doing it with a lot of other people, but was still very much an individual exercise.  I knew I would be done at some point, finished, happy it was over, while still understanding that there would always be a little regret.  Why couldn't I have just done that part a little faster, pushed a little harder.

I like analogies and this one I created in my head at about mile 6, helped me reconnect a bit with the mental struggle our students go through with assessments.  Helped remind me that not all have trained as hard before, not all have the same mental gifts, not all have the same nice equipment to push through.  Not all have the time to practice, not all have the same privilege, not all have had multiple opportunities to race without distraction, and not all have the same motivation.

Just a little reminder that although races and assessments are done alone, only challenging yourself, not all have the same.... (You fill in the blank) and keep it in mind the next time one of your students is struggling to push through, wants to give up on mile 6 and think about how you are going to react to them to keep them going?  That is the only question you need to answer...  

Friday, April 14, 2017

Time is on our Side....

I think most people say that they don't have enough time.  I would agree, but it is like the sun coming up every morning.  We have absolutely no control over any of these things.  So why complain about it, it only wastes more time, like waking up at 4:30 am for a sunrise at 6:17 am.

What if you thought about it as a positive or banked ability.  What if you saw it as a reverse retirement account.  Assuming you live to be 80, subtract your age now, I am 39, so that would equal 41.  I have 41 years to do, be, create, and live the way I want.  Certainly there are things that will take up time with family, job, relationships, etc.

Then there are those things that will seem to some as a waste and to others not.  For example; social media, "why are you wasting your time liking, responding, etc. all that stuff?" Then there are those that say; "This is who I am, I am social, I have friends, this is important!"  Who can tell, who can tell that one is right and one is wrong.  All I know is that we all have 24 hours in a day, we are all equal that way.  How you use it is your responsibility and if you take 20 minutes getting out of bed vs. 20 seconds, that is on you.  There are times for me that those 20 minutes of tossing and turning are important and then there are those times that 20 seconds to get up, make me feel great!

I choose to eat lunch standing up during the week, every day, just to do 2 things at once to save those 10 minutes.  Makes me feel efficient! HAHA!  That is my choice, I feel a sense of responsibility about my time. Then again there are those times that I feel I waste it.

Technology has enabled us to use time even more efficiently, but we seem to complain more about time more than ever?  I wrote a series of checks the other day, a total of 4 personal checks in one motion... Oh My... you would have thought I was writing a dissertation of a doctoral thesis.  I put it off a whole week even.

I drove to work the other day at 65 vs. 45 just to save time...

I send emails without proofreading them.

I wore a tie that did not match because I did not want to waste the time in the closet.

I don't brush my hair in fear that those 5 seconds are wasted time.

We need to except that we do have control, we are in control.  I have hopefully 41 years or more to make decisions and use my time efficiently.

I wrote this and only proofread it once.  If you want to comment on my typos or grammar, that is your time, hopefully you get the idea.