I am not sure why…. But this year I am constantly making comparisons to my workout and my students in my mind. Maybe because the workouts are hard for me and so many of my students express how hard school is for them… Or maybe I am diverting during my workout and not being mindful of my own process (sounds like the kids too), or maybe it is just my time to really sink into what I am experiencing and having those “wow” moments. In any case this is where I am.
A couple of weeks ago I was once again arguing with my cycling bike trying to work up a sweat, provide myself with a bit of stress relief and honestly some calorie relief as well (dang holidays and dessert). Pretty much I am waiting for the class to begin feeling sort of sorry for myself (can anyone imagine a child sitting in first period doing the same?) when I notice this person sitting on a bike and the instructor is helping get the bike set up while they are sitting on it….then they are helping the person get their shoes clipped in… just wow and I notice that this individual has really limited mobility… I am getting more impressed by the minute… and then the class begins. I do my thing, the class does theirs, and I sometimes catch myself watching this other person (have I mentioned that I can be lot like a middle school student lately?). They are not going as fast as the rest of the class, but they are going through water and sweating like crazy. They stay the entire class and clearly are working out at a level FOR THEM that I personally cannot achieve. I am stunned by their commitment and work ethic, but if they were being graded on the output along with the rest of the class I think the grade would be low and I bet that is how the bike assessed them as well.
Observing just made me think of our kids. Our kids compare themselves a ton - particularly starting around 4th grade - it becomes a developmental thing that for some of us never goes away and for some of us becomes a huge barrier towards our own progress. Some students enter the classroom and see some high performing students and think “I will never succeed in class like they do” and just give up all together. Others fortify themselves most days and give it a go but not really consider how they might improve their own outcomes (I wasn’t on that day). And others like my spin example really do give it their all in the moment and work really hard.
The point is that we all show up differently most days just like our students. We as adults attempt not to compare ourselves to others because we know that our personnel space and factors are vastly different than everyone else's, hard but we do try to stay here. Kids just don’t have this built in yet. Too easily they align with their own “failures” and do not see how much harder they may have had to work in order to earn that C than another student. I am sure many of you have had the “talk” about not even turning in work - yes I have had a student tell me that they haven’t turned it in because “what if I get a bad grade on it?” Gosh nothing gets lower than a zero - but a zero is not reflective of their effort, but rather of their action - whole different thing.
So for me I am going to be more vigilantly looking for the student that has high work ethic and low output - it is these students that really are going to take over the world once they find their mojo. Since showing up for themselves is REALLY the most important thing - for school or even an exercise class.