Friday, April 26, 2013

Choose One Thing

My title for today's post is what I've been preaching these days about technology. I've been telling teachers who are overwhelmed by technology to choose one thing and try it. Share with your students that you are trying something. See if they have better ideas about what you are doing. It's odd to hear myself advocating "one thing" because I have a hard time doing just that--choosing one thing. If you know me, you know that I often choose the hardest route. The most difficult path. The most challenging task. I like to spice it up. That way of thinking and learning takes its toll, and sometimes I need to slow down.

Like today.

I really needed to ride my bike and sort things out while spinning some pedals. I wanted to do a long ride. It's that time of year where I need to start logging longer rides to make the summer more fun. If I do fifty miles now, those killer rides when the weather is nice will be easier. But today, I was tired. It's been a really full week, and I needed to take a break. The ride I chose was long enough (34 miles) that it felt like a workout, but short enough so that I didn't get off the bike feeling demoralized by how hard the ride had gotten since I last did it. Fitness must be maintained or I suffer with the memories of how easy the rides/hikes/runs used to be. Right now, I'm doing just that. The days of inactivity in front of the computer do not contribute to fitness. Today, I just had fun trying to pedal smooth. Making no sudden breaks or sudden accelerations. Just easy. Admire the tulips. Laugh at the llama in the yard. Envy the dog sunning on a hill above Lake Samish. Easy.

I'm less than a week away from the conference I mentioned, and I didn't get to post as much as I would have liked in these last thirty days. I've done a lot writing in my head, and I know what I'm going to say. What I'm going to preach. What I'm going to ask. I'm a bit nervous, but I have small group of supporters who will be there. My mom might text me a photo of her budding Southern azaleas.

One of the questions I hope to pose to a room full of teachers comes with some risk. Teachers react differently than students. They sometimes forget how to be students, and they want to share with you what they do as teachers. It's tough to losen up and just learn. I want to ask how you make time to keep learning for the love of learning. Not just for the job. Not just for the CV. In all of the grading, the meetings, the conferences, the writing, the trainings--how do you take a look at the eye of the storm and find that one thing you want to focus on. How do you make it happen?

In addition to all I have going on work-wise, I am slogging through a requirement to graduate. I just stare at everything I've done for three years, and I don't even know where to begin. I have three components to pass: one I like, one I can handle, and one I can't stand. My face wrinkles up like I'm smelling something bad when I talk about it. I can't even pretend like I care about it. I'm pretty sure I've annoyed the teacher with my comments about it. This component I hate seems so useless and redundant, I really can't even bring myself to write it. But I must. I've been joking lately that when I finish this degree I'm no longer going to pursue a doctorate. I'm done with the degrees and all of the hoops that you have to jump through. Instead of studying for the GRE (again!), I'll take a painting class.

No sudden breaks or accelerations. Just something easy.

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