Things That Are Worth It Are Not Always Easy

Spring Break – a time to relax on the beach, clean out closets, and do nothing school related, right?  Most people would say absolutely, YES!

This year I decided to visit the freezing, nonstop snowing state of Utah and learn something new!  I love to ski and have for years.  Each and every year I say, I really want to try to snowboard.  However, every year passes and I resort back to what is comfortable and easy for me.  Is it because I don’t want to “waste” the little time I have on learning something new and fearing the unknown results?  Quite possibly.

So this year when my husband said he was going to board, I said, “Wait a second, I have always wanted to do that.  I am too!”  This was our daughter’s first time to ski and I wasn’t quite sure how we would all be beginners at the same time, but it worked!

I’m not sure if you can see the gigantic smile on my daughter’s face, but she LOVED flying past us!

The pictures reveal smiles and successes.  What you do not see here are the moments of frustration.  I am embarrassed to admit that I was not the most positive learner in these moments. Hey, first step is admitting it right?!

  • My daughter only became upset when her hands were frozen because her gloves did not seem to be working well, so we bought new ones and she was set! 
  • My husband only slightly showed his frustration with learning something new, or so he says. I didn’t even see him frustrated.  🙂
  • I became frustrated at the most unthinkable part of snowboarding, getting myself up to get started!   I picked up the form, the turns, the importance of balance and positioning toes, feet, and everything quite easily.  (I think being a yoga person really helped make this easy for me.)
Snowboarding really is an all around different mindset than skiing. With skiing you can cruise off the lift and take off.  When snowboarding, you ride the lift with one foot strapped in and one out. So when you get up to the top, you have to sit and strap the other foot in before you go.  THIS was the part that got me. Every time.  
My frustration grew every time I went to pull myself up and I would get so close and fall right back on my bottom. Hard. ***Cue the embarrassing moment music……
I actually sat in the middle of the slope (where everyone on the lift and skiing could see me very clearly) and dropped my head between my knees and began to cry in frustration.  It was pitiful.  I didn’t think I would ever get up.  BUT, it didn’t last long because I caught myself in this thinking and had a little conversation with myself, “What are you doing?  Stop crying. This is ridiculous! This isn’t going to change anything. I can do this. Breathe. I just have to keep at it.”   I am sure I looked like a fool as I talked to myself as I got up and kept going.  I was going to do this.  I was going to succeed.  I would push on until I did because that is what I do.  I kept thinking…

Why share that embarrassing moment?  The reason: It really taught me a lesson in positive thinking.
So often, as teachers, we want to try something new, but we never do.  We always go back to what is comfortable and easy, either because we know it 100% works or in fear of the unknown.  When we finally do try something new, we sometimes realize it might not be as “easy” as we thought and become frustrated.  Our old thinking and old mindsets quickly become what we turn to and how we react. However, my experience shows that even if our old mindset and way of reacting kicks in, we CAN change it.  We can use positive talk and talk ourselves out of this.  We can talk ourselves into remembering we can do whatever we put our minds to. 
Maybe you are already a positive self-talker in many situations.  Maybe you need to surround yourself with other people who are great at talking you through something difficult. Either way, I just want to express the importance of having positive thinking to help you work through difficult times in the classroom.  Think: Will it be easy?  Nope.  Worth it?  Absolutely!
There is no better time than now to have your cheerleaders around ready to nudge you as you make a difference in the lives of our children! Just think of JT when you wonder what you are meant to do. 🙂
Take the Challenge! It is worth it every time. I am so glad I did.  

Just Go For It

As I sit back and really think about taking risks, I continually wonder if we are doing this as adults? Are we modeling what we ask of our kids? To do so it takes an incredible amount of vulnerability as teachers.

I think of the many things we could be taking risks on in our profession:
  • new lessons
  • a new grade level
  • trying other new things
  • speaking up and having our voice heard at a meeting
  • leading other teachers and sharing our knowledge
  • having someone watch us teach & give feedback on a lesson we know we are not strong at teaching and we fail in front of people
I watched a TedTalk recently where two well known photographers were curious about the difference in photographic love and real love. After a little study and research, they both agreed the best thing about photographing people was the vulnerability. It was real. They went on to say they loved their research project about how people met and fell in love, but when they were finished it really came down to how did these people stay in love that was so fascinating. Something one of the elderly people said stuck with me: “When you get that feeling you just go with it!” 
Wow! Talk about taking a risk! Talk about just going for it! Many of the couples interviewed just had that vulnerability that made them attractive. It made you want to hear their story on how they were so successful and happy in love for so many years.

Connecting it to my profession:
 *I want to be a teacher that is known for being vulnerable and taking risks.
 *I want to be a teacher that is known for just going for it.
 *I want to be a teacher that is known for giving my all.

What have I got to lose? Taking risks can be scary, but I just have to take that first step and go for it! I love this image so much. Yes, it is spoken in the context of marriage, but doesn’t it also apply to teaching? It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it. Just go for it – one step at a time.