May 25, 2016

Skating Beats Homework

Time is both shrinking and expanding at the same time. It feels like the days are flying by one minute, and the next it feels like time has stood still.

"What? There are only four weeks left of school."
"Are you kidding me? There are still four weeks of school left?"

Teaching in May is schizophrenic. There’s still a lot to do, like I should be working on mentor comments as we speak, but the need to look into the near future, which include summer plans, make procrastination so much more appealing. Maybe this year those mentor comments will write themselves.

The days, in the classroom, teaching the kids, going through the lessons seem to fly by. It is the spaces in between- you know the life you are living when you are not working that seems to take forever.


Kaia’s skateboarding class will be cancelled this Sunday so we arranged to do it tonight, a midweek treat, instead. And it was great. She had finished all her homework, so we came home, she chatted with some friends on the computer, read for a tiny bit and we were off to the skatepark for her lesson. The air was cool. The park nearly empty. We all spent time cruising the curves. Kaia on her board with her teacher. Skye on her scooter. And me itching to get started fiddled with a penny board. I was wearing flip flops and no helmet or pads, so needless to say I was terrified and cautious, but man was it fun. So much harder than I thought. Skating is a physical activity that takes a lot of courage and balance. It’s amazing how much more of both of those kids my kids have than me.

After only three lessons, Kaia is already pumping and dropping into tiny slopes and Skye took a few big ramps on her scooter like a ….well whatever animal cruises on cement inclines.

I just want to reiterate how much more meaningful this evening was for our family, and how much more was learned at the skatepark, than if we had stayed at home and lumbered our way through spelling words and a math sheet.

All learning starts the moment you overcome fear. Fear comes in many forms and degrees, but I think the role of a good teacher is to help a learner gauge the impact or damage that excessive risk can have on a person and teach them how to get to the edge of their fear and overcome it.

So much of the damage we do to ourselves and others is caused by our inability to overcome fear. We become trapped by it and unable to grow or evolve. We dwell on doubt and guilt and shame, and we lash out with jealousy, revenge or spite. But really, we need to take inventory of our fears and learn how to push the boundaries until we feel safe and capable.

These are some of the things I was thinking about while I was trying not to break my wrist or my back on the tiny skateboard tonight. Or as I psyche myself up for my guitar performance on the 3rd of June. Through my big mouth I turned our tiny gig into Gareth’s going away party and that means a much large crowd of colleagues than I had plan. This terrifies me to know end, but overcoming this fear is a step to learning how to be a better singer/performer. I know this, but it doesn’t make it easier.

The closer we get to the end of the year, the more afraid I become of failing at my new job next year. What if I can’t keep up? What if I am not organized enough? What if people don’t respect me and I don’t know how to lead? The fear is real, but I know that overcoming this doubt is how I will become a better leader and hopefully a better teacher. All learning starts the moment you overcome fear.

Maybe the true learners seek out things to be afraid of, risks to face, challenges and obstacles that need overcoming.

What are you afraid of? What fears have you overcome that have been great learning experiences?

No comments:

Post a Comment