Marathon Teaching


Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. As the bitter string of winter’s evanesce fills my lungs with a gentle reminder of how sweet air is. The rhythmic pounding of my feet electrifying my soul through my sole. My arms hidden under layers of warmth, swing back and forth propelling me forward.

…but in my mind I think

What did I sign up for?

Last March I decided to take the bold step of participating in Chicago’s Shamrock Shuffle 8K race. I say bold, because up until this point I had only done one other race in my life and it was a fun run 5K at my college.

I was no stranger to the idea of running. Living next to Lincoln Park, I would frequently run in the morning. I never measured my distance or timed my running. I moseyed along until I found something to consume. It varied between coffee, doughnuts, and french macaroons. The exertion justified the consumption. It is all about balance. So naturally when someone suggested I sign up for the race, I thought “yeah I could do that”.

A 8K, if anyone is wondering, is 5 miles. This does not sound like a lot, but when the only running you do is casual at best. It was rougher than expected. Despite my body telling me to quit, I was able to complete my first “real” race.

I use the word “I”, but I cannot take the credit solely. The day that I signed up for the race, I received a safety net of support. Throughout the race I was showered with encouragement and support. The night before the race I was showered with goodies and gear. The morning of the race fellow racers and volunteers were there to help in anyway possible. During the race strangers cheered me on and gave me high fives. After the race the lady next to me gave me her beer tickets and I think I hugged her.


For me, what got me through the race was the support. This probably makes runner’s cringe reading this, but there is a hype around races that propels racers to do their best. As of tomorrow, I will have finished my first semester teaching and it feels like a marathon. The biggest reason that I am crossing this finish line is, because of my support group. I have a fabulous mentor that knows when I need something even before I know I need something. I have an instructional coach that is wise and inspires my creativity. I have on Facebook several ICTE groups that I know if I ever need anything I will have responses all over Iowa. I may be a Facebook creep, but I read almost every post in the group. ICTE is full of so many inspiring people.

The race is over and I am so proud of myself.

Does this make me an expert teacher? Not by any means! I may have finished the race, but that was not the best I could do. I could improve my time, breathing, and pacing.

There are so, so many things that I want to change and improve on, and I never want to lose that feeling. It is that feeling that ignites passion.

The month of January is all about resolutions. Here are my teacher resolution to make me a better teacher.

Something I want to try: I want to include more writer’s workshops, creative writing, and student choice.

Something I want to improve: I want to improve my feedback. I want to have more conferences and letters.

Something I want to change: I want to stop working or policing free read time. I want to be able to model reading to my students.

Non-teaching: I want to get better at running. 😉



One thought on “Marathon Teaching

  1. I love your comparison. Teaching is definitely a marathon. You are already headed in the right direction–you’ve found a PLN to depend on, you have goals and plans. You’ve reflected on what you want to do better. All the makings of a great teacher. Good luck to you as you head into second semester!


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