i recently returned from a trip to colorado where i spent over a week at altitude – as a runner it was quite a chore to run at 12,000 ft but an amazing thing has happened since my return, i feel like i can run forever. spending time working out at high altitude, oxygen thin areas has made my workouts at low altitude, oxygen enriched areas seem much easier. i’m aware the effects will subside quickly but i’m enjoying it for now…but i’m not here to talk about running…necessarily. oddly enough, both environments i’m talking about are considered harsh by athletes; after all you don’t see people spilling out of the airports to come to houston to train in the heat and oppressive humidity. my experience in a difficult environment put my usual running in perspective, in fact made it seem easier…have i had professional experiences that fall into that same pattern? without question. i’ve been in some tough spots, under tough circumstances, at tough times with some tough content. having had those experiences made working with a smaller group under different (easier?) circumstances seem much, much more manageable. let’s go back to the good old days, my 2nd year of teaching i had the class from hades, it was exhausting and i shook my head at the end of each day wondering how i was going to get through to some of those 5th graders. like many of the proverbial crucibles that we have found ourselves in, i would like to think that i became a better teacher for having that year long experience. looking back on it, what i was doing was teaching at altitude, where everything seemed more difficult and when the next class rolled around it seemed to a be a bit too easy. so what am i doing? advocating we all put ourselves into situations that will leave us with battle scars? truth be told, there really is never going to be an easy year of teaching/training, its a tough job that not everyone has the stomach for, but perhaps having the perspective to realize that tough experiences can be beneficial might soothe the nerves a bit when confronted with the group that “will only make you stronger”.
teaching at altitude?