Teaching Is…a Marathon, not a Sprint

Each summer I sign up for some big event. The last few years it is a brutal bike ride through the Colorado Rockies called the Triple Bypass: 117 miles, 3 mountain passes…like I said, brutal. In years past, I have trained for these events quickly in the summer and hoped for the best. I figured that I could be in good enough shape if I crammed all of my training into just a couple of months. And this went well for me until I got older. I started to get injuries, and aches and pains from this cram-style of training.

The last couple of years, I have taken a longer-term approach to my training. Throughout the winter I work on what is going to help me make the distance and ride more strongly. This has paid off for me. Not only am I physically stronger, but I am mentally in a much more grounded place. I have learned how to listen to my body.

The same is true in our classrooms. If we take a short-sighted approach to teaching, we won’t make it long. We’ll burn out, we may get injured, and we most certainly won’t last in the profession. It is easy to take each day and call it busy. To take each task as it comes and call it busy work. Sure, we make it through the year, but what are we left with at the end?

If we look at teaching as a marathon rather than a sprint amazing things happen in our classrooms. We begin to see and acknowledge the long-range goals of our learners. We begin to see students as a whole rather than people sitting taking some kind of input from us. We begin to nurture the possibilities of all those faces sitting in front of us daily.

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