We begin our spring semester today with our students in class. A new year makes me feel introspective; I can be a fierce critic and hardest on myself. Our grades are due by the end of the day for the report cards that will go home with the students later this week. Failure rates are evaluated, and it can be nerve-wracking to me when I see students choose to fail my class and excel in others. I do take it personally in an impersonal world of numbers, data, and trends. In my rose-colored musings, I want them to have the same intrinsic motivation I have to be successful and try their hardest. Because I do not have this lack of motivation in my professional life, I “don’t get it.”
I exercise regularly, so I have stamina to teach my young ones. I cook several meals at home for my family each week; however, I love having a Whataburger combo meal when the urge to do something easy strikes. Ugh! Am I showing the same lackadaisical pattern in my personal eating habits? Am I trying my hardest with my exercise program even though I walk faithfully each week? Am I asking myself to ignore what is best for my physical well-being while concentrating so much on the daily details of teaching? Do they have enough work to do?
I can plan my menus before going grocery shopping so that I have the ingredients on hand to make nutritious meals. I can gradually incorporate running back into my routine. I haven’t any plans to run a half-marathon like my younger sister will later this year, but I will run at least one or two 5K races just to run them and have the satisfaction of completion. I will remind my young charges that the reward of finishing their work is to exercise their minds with a good book, do some journal writing, or complete a puzzle of some sorts. The reward is not to sit idly and stare into space. I believe idle hands are too quickly involved in mischief in a school setting. The caveat here is that I must make sure their materials are always readily available even when they choose not to come prepared.