Two for One

Posted: May 2, 2012 in Teaching, Writing
Tags: , , , , ,

The last couple of weeks have run me over a bit, but I am glad that I have posted at least once a week in that time. Unfortunately that means that I have not given attention to one of my two goals those weeks, and I aim to fix that this week in one post.

Today I am going to share an experience and what I learned from it, and I feel you will find it applies to both writing and education.

Last night I was at a track meet (I’m a distance runner:)). Early in the meet one of the athletes pulled himself out of the 400 meter dash because he didn’t want to run it. Our team really needs more people to run the 400 because we constantly give up points in that event. As a consequence we pulled the kid from his relay event.

As the relay loomed closer, one of his teammates was begging that he be allowed back in the relay. When told no for the fiftieth time he made a snide remark about how we weren’t going to win any meets anyway. Well, I had to stop myself from doing a roundhouse to the kids head. It would not be appropriate of me as a shot put  and discus coach (you didn’t really think I ran distance, did you? I’m a big man. I would be lapped twice running the mile).

So, instead of crushing the young man’s skull I decided to show him the issue. I explained to him that the real reason we aren’t successful is that too many people are afraid to branch out and enter the events where we need help. I went on to say that if a person doesn’t go and try something that is difficult, but it is something that they can do well, then they are only hurting themselves and the team. We need people to leave their comfort zone in order for us to move forward.

When I got home, I realized that this applies both in the classroom and in writing. In my classroom, if I constantly shy away from the problem students and the new teaching ideas, I will not aid anyone to the extent that I desire. I will be doing myself and my team (class) a disservice.

In writing, if I just stick to what is safe and easy, I will end up producing some pretty mundane prose that feels overly formulaic. My readers will disappear and I will be wasting my time.

I vow to move forward and challenge myself as much as possible. I want my students, my readers, and myself to experience everything that I am capable of. What about you?


p.s. Here is a teaching related link. I think it mirrors my experience to a great extent.

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