This morning Kent and I ran in a local 5K race benefiting the animal shelter. Our dogs came along and ran with us. It was a nice, low-keyed race for my first one. My goal from the beginning was to simply run the whole way (no walking) and to finish. Well, that I accomplished. I came in last, but attained my personal goals. Ironically, I ended up getting a medal anyway, as there were only three women in my age division. I took this as a gift from the running gods as a memento of my day.
Looking back, I am amazed at my journey from couch potato to runner. My best friend, Ginny started running earlier this year. We have always enjoyed the same things, but thought this would be the one thing I could never share with her. Kent runs as well, but I looked on it as a “guy thing”. Both Ginny and Kent encouraged me, challenged me and even pushed me to at least entertain the idea that I could be a runner. In early July, I ran out of excuses and decided to give running a try.
When I started, I couldn’t run to my mailbox. I remember the sense of accomplishment at each milestone; 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 2 miles and finally 5K. I would call Ginny just to tell her I had reached the next goal.
Signing up for my first race was just the motivation I needed to get up every morning and train. I was hopeful that losing a little weight would be a natural byproduct of taking this healthy step forward, but as of today—I haven’t been THAT lucky. I found inspiration through reading (of course, my precursor to anything) “No Need for Speed” by John Bingham and “Slow, Fat, Triathlete” by Jayne Williams. Taking advantage of the tools for training, searching for inspiration and the encouragement I received enabled me to attempt something I never thought I could.
As I crossed the finish line today with cheers from those who finished before me, I thought of the students in my classroom who never have the opportunity to feel the victory of “stepping across the finish line” academically. They attempt to maneuver their way through school dodging obstacle after obstacle in their path. They don’t know how to “train” or they lack the motivation to do so. They don’t seem to have anyone in their lives to encourage them, push them or believe in them. Yet, we expect them to perform on the same level as those students fortunate enough to not only have one, but all of those affirmations in their lives.
Is it true students have to “want” to learn for us to reach them, OR can their reluctance to learn be overcome by not only offering the “tools” to “train” but engaging instruction as to how to us them? Do they merely need someone to believe in them, encourage them and push them? I realize this seems oversimplified, but is it? Nothing to do with becoming a runner has been easy. To this day, I don’t necessary like it, but today I feel like a runner. Perhaps not in an accomplished athlete’s eye, but in my own and in those who care about me. By the same token, reluctant students may feel the same—nothing about school is easy, but hopefully through dedicated teachers, encouraging parents and “training” they can feel the satisfaction crossing over the finish line can bring.
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