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Running Thoughts: Fitness Thinking, Teacher Sustainability, and Teaching Writing

20 July 2012

Note: I gave myself a 30-minute time limit for writing this.

This morning I set a “thinking agenda” for my run. Knowing I was going to run approximately 6 miles in 70 minutes with my warm up and cool down. I planned to spend the first 2 miles thinking about my fitness goals and routines, the second 2 miles reflecting on John Spencer’s chapter in Sustainable on “Success: Fireworks or Fire Works?,” and the last 2 miles brainstorming about teaching writing. One thing I learned about myself is that I’m not really a linear thinker. Even though I had an agenda, my mind still shot down rabbit holes popping back up in the other areas I wanted to think about. Perhaps, this is why I have such a hard time following sermons and lectures. My mind can be full of wormholes of cognitive hyperlinks sometimes. But I digress.

In thinking about my fitness goals and routines, I am proud to say I have completed my Bridge to 10K running plan. I’m certainly not the fastest runner, but I have now stuck to and completed two different running programs, and I’m proud I stuck with it. A few days ago, I saw a #temt post on Twitter that made me start evaluating my fitness routines. The post made note that the #temt stream was full of cardio-related posts, but seemed to lack posts about strength conditioning. I know I have neglected this part of my regimen, so I think I will speak with Dale Brady at 2PC about possibly training me or setting me up on a strength training plan. I’m also thinking that as school begins, I will try to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and commit to strength training on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. I also need to commit to doing P90X’s Ab Ripper X three days a week, too, to work on my core.

In reflecting on John’s chapter on success, a couple of thoughts came to mind. John thinks it’s important for teachers to create a meaningful, realistic story about one’s teaching life. I agree. So I’m trying to think about my teaching through the various story elements and I’m thinking about who I want to be as the main character in this story and how I can be faithful to that. John also talks the most important theme in teaching being love not influence–that it’s more about love than making a difference. I’m not sure. I want to make a difference–not just to individuals, but I want to help them think well and do good. I agree that love is crucial, but I want my love to be demonstrated through the ethic of kindness. (Does that make sense?) A final thought is that I really like the metaphor of being a fire versus a firework. Where I think the metaphor might collapse, though, is variety. Fireworks vary. They have different colors and they explode in a unique ways. Likewise, I think there are a variety of approaches to teaching that can work well. I didn’t always think so, but as I experiment with different strategies and philosophies I’m learning there isn’t just one way.

My final thoughts center around teaching writing. I only have a bit of time left to write this post, but my thoughts centered around the need to focus on the process, to have students write frequently, to provide meaningful feedback from both teacher and peers, and the need to create authentic projects and audiences. Students would also benefit from clear modeling and having a choice about what they write. Side thought: I need to pull together some resources that might help give this wings.

Okay, the online egg timer and the laundry buzzer sounded so I need to get this posted. Remember this is a process post. Nevertheless, I would love to read any thoughts or comments ou have on today’s “Running Thoughts.”

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 20 July 2012 5:32 pm

    So maybe the unifying thread is, “If the fire’s hot enough, anything will burn!” Congrats on keeping your fitness fire burning. And I love the Yeats quote that education is not filling buckets, but igniting fires. To be able to write that story about my own teaching would be a blessing and learning exercise as I fired up what worked and what didn’t. Finally, I think about your students keeping a hot-coal fire burning as they write each day. Not a blaze on one day and nothing else for days. But a constant flame of writing to build their capacity for writing as thinking. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 20 July 2012 5:49 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Bo! (Logistically, I’m annoyed that I cannot get Audioboo to cooperate with me–today’s is nothing but static. I think I may move to Cinch.) I lovey our unifying thread and that Yeats’ quote, too. I’m trying to find the right balance of reading and writing in my class. I want to encourage writing and reflecting through blogging, but my standards are all reading-focused so I’m still working that out. Thanks for the encouragement. Sometime when you are free, I have a #PBL idea I’d love to process with you. Maybe we can Skype soon? Thanks again.

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