Teacher Appreciation, Progress vs. Perfection, and Other Rest Week Reflections

Hey there! Happy Friday! This week, I won’t be recapping any workouts because guess what — I don’t have any to recap! That’s right. I have been taking recovery to heart this week and aside from working–HARD–on the yard and herding six-year-olds all day, I haven’t been doing much physical activity. I’ll spare you a photo of my feet, but I have my first real runner’s toe. The Brooks are about to be retired, but I would really love to not have a blood blister pop all over them before that. Plus, I’ve been catching up on some wedding planning (the most bittersweet, yet summative sentence of my existence lately). Since I’ve had plenty of time (maybe too much) on my hands this week, here’s some other musing.

Teacher Appreciation Week

I feel like I don’t deserve this week. Seriously. We give our veterans A DAY but I get a whole week. I thought about this one morning this week after walking in to work to our PTO’s latest surprise (more on that in a bit). I love what I do. I love spending time with my students. I love seeing them grow, hearing their ideas, and being their confidante. I get home before Jeff does, and I’ll have this summer to work on house projects, finalize wedding details, and go on vacation. Yes, I do have a lot of paperwork and meetings. No, I don’t get paid huge wads of cash. But, I see my family when I want to. I can take off when I’m sick. I laugh daily and not one day is the same. I’m thankful for this week, but I also think there are others who are much more deserving of a week of recognition, praise, and a heartfelt “you inspire me.”

However, on the same token, I have been enjoying the extra spice at work this week. Our PTO rocks. 🙂

 

Podcasts

I started listening to Serial: Season 1 last spring when I had a longer commute to work and was instantly hooked. I listened to it nonstop for about a week. I didn’t listen much to podcasts over the summer, since I had plenty of time to read, but I recently started back up on my long runs and longer trips. Some favorites:

  • Serial: Season 2. While I’m not as into this season as I was with Adnan’s, it’s still intriguing. I haven’t finished this season yet, as I usually pull it up while on the elliptical or stair climber (i.e. not often).
  • NPR’s Ask Me Another: I know. I’m a nerd. I have never denied this. If you’re a fellow nerd, closet or proud, you’re nodding your head in agreement. YAS. AMA’s like trivia at your favorite bar, except you can listen to it in your pajamas, petting your dog, obnoxiously yelling out (often-incorrect) answers. If you have not sipped from the AMA fountain yet, you need to, my friend. Ophira Eisenberg could be my best friend and I’d be totally fine with it. This podcast is great for long runs because it’s like having a crowd of funny people to entertain you while you’re pounding the pavement.
  • Mojo for Running: This is my new commute podcast. The episodes are almost always under 20 minutes and have given me so much helpful information, and I’ve only listened to about 10 episodes in the past few weeks. When actual running takes up so much of your free time, it’s hard to find time to read running blogs, magazines, etc. for tips and ideas. With Mojo for Running, I can learn a ton of new things and actually have time to apply it!

Progress vs. Perfection

Practice makes perfect. We’ve all heard it. But this week, in my recovery-fueled pensiveness, I’ve been thinking a lot about that short but loaded sentence. I’m about to get all philosophical here. Pardon me. I’ve been thinking about this sentence in terms of two very different, but key parts of my life:

1.) running

2.) teaching (specifically, reading)

Perfection in Running

Is there such a thing? Like many other runners, I am on a quest to become faster and go further. I do not have one end goal in my mind, and to me, that is what perfection is: an end. To imply that practice will end in perfection also implies that that practice will one day be no longer. So, why would I want to be a “perfect” runner (not like that would happen, anyway)? Aside from becoming injured during training and not getting to complete a race, I don’t think I could feel truly let down by running, because I know I will never be perfect. There will always be a new record to set, a new goal to achieve, a new process to master. It’s exhausting, but also exhilarating.

Perfection in Teaching

NO. I am not perfect. NO. My students are not perfect. So again, I ask, is there such a thing as perfection? How can you define the perfect reader? Unless if the next Shakespeare walks out of my apple-bordered classroom door one day, I don’t think I could define it. I don’t focus on perfect readers, because again, to imply that there is a perfect ideal implies that once you have reached that ideal, you’re done. There’s no more point to reading.

I’m sorry–NO. Reading is, in itself, a practice, and a life-long one. In that sense, it’s a lot like running. One reads, runs, or does both not to become perfect, but because it’s a practice that relaxes the mind, invigorates the body, and opens doors for the soul.

But I digress. I need to run to let these thoughts out, instead of unleashing them on some unsuspecting Internet bystander.

Confidence

I would once define myself as a girly-girl. I would gladly spend more money on clothes, cosmetics, shoes, or my hair than any other item (including food, in college :)). However, I posted this picture as my Facebook profile picture earlier this week and (once again), I got to thinking.

cropped-fullsizerender-45.jpg

There is no head-tilt in this picture. There’s no eye contact, let alone a sassy gaze. There isn’t a skinny-arm pose, or a popped knee (at least, not an intentional one :)), or a duck face, or a filter.

Nope. Instead, there’s sweat. There’s a gigantic frizzy “ponytail” that was tame when I set out. There’s visible dirt. Thank god technology geniuses haven’t figured out how to emit smells from computers, because then I really wouldn’t have any followers on here.

However, I think I look beautiful here. Someone might be reading this and thinking “Wow. I might not be able to smell her sweat, but I can smell her cockiness. UNFOLLOW.” And to that… I am not sorry. I know that I am not the only woman on the planet who has, at one time or another, felt too skinny, too chubby, too intense, too sensitive, too indecisive, too decisive, too curly, too straight, too made-up, too natural, too feminine, too tomboy, too high-maintenance, too frumpy.

When I look at this picture, I see my best self. I see someone who knows where she’s going. I see someone who is strong–and that’s a word I never would have used to describe myself before. I see someone I would have looked up to when I was younger. Wearing pink and glitter doesn’t make you weak. Having muscles and outrunning boys doesn’t make you aggressive or manly. I’m so happy I learned that. It took 24 years, but I learned it. Making time to run does not make you selfish. Going to the store with wet hair does not mean the world is ending. It means you’re making a choice: Be a nutcase or contain that stuff with some endorphins (just kidding…. kind of).

As you can see, my mind is itching to get back into training (Peachtree Road Race, I’m coming for ya!). But I’ll close with this: I will not apologize for prioritizing my health, or liking myself. And you shouldn’t either. Because, after all….

picture2b5_107

 

Blog signature

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s