Monday, June 22, 2009

Bicycling and Teaching

After reading Lessons learned from bicycling revisited from Blue Skunk Blog by Doug Johnson, I began to think about how his lessons applied to my teaching. I started to compare some of his lessons (in bold italics) to mine and this is what I came up with. If you get a chance, read all of his lessons and see how it compares to your life.

1. It's usually uphill and against the wind. (Murphy's Law of Bicycling).
That is also the law of teaching and that is why I became a special education teacher. I love the challenge of teaching students that others (and even themselves) feel is impossible.

2. Most big hills that look impossible are usually a series of small hills that are possible.
Even though graduation seems impossible to my students, I help them see that if they take the little steps, they will make progress and before they know it, achieving their goals is really possible.

3. It's better to shift to a lower gear than to stop altogether.
Sometimes I have to look for alternatives but that doesn’t mean I have to give up.

4. The five minutes putting air in your tires at the beginning of the day is time well spent.
Sometimes it is good to spend a little extra time working on students’ self esteem before tackling actual content. It pays off in the long run.

5. There will always be riders who are faster and slower.
That is why I need to look at each student’s individual needs instead of expecting everyone to move at the same pace all of the time.

6. Too often we quit because our spirit fails, not our legs or lungs.
I need to be a cheerleader for my students because sometimes, that is what it takes to help them move forward.

7. Too much padding between you and a bike seat is impossible.
I can’t always keep my students from having setbacks, but I can prepare them for learning how to bounce back.

8. You always feel the headwind, but rarely the tailwind.
My students always remember the struggles they have but when easier times come, they are worried about when the tough times return. They can’t seem to enjoy the easier times.

9. Most forms of travel involve some degree of discomfort. But keep moving anyway.
It is hard for my students to realize that everyone faces challenges when they are learning something new. It is the ones that don’t give up who actually achieve their goals.

Thanks Doug for letting me seeing my teaching in a different way. Comparing lists to my teaching always helps me put things in perspective and hopefully helps others reflect on their own teaching. I think reflection is so important for teachers to do in order to be effective and successful in their teaching.

Original image: 'http://flickrcc.bluemountains.net/www.flickr.com/photos/11276503@N00/1238510523' http://www.flickr.com/photos/11276503@N00/1238510523

2 comments:

skip zalneraitis said...

Thanks, Pat.
You know how near and dear to my heart this is. :o)

Mark said...

Brilliant!