why i stopped racing all the time

14 Nov

i used to run by myself and whenever i got the opportunity to run with others i jumped at the chance.  what ended up happening is that i would sign up for races a lot just to be around other runners and in doing so i would push it a little harder than i needed to on race days.  i mean really, who doesn’t get a bit geeked up when you have a number pinned on?  unfortunately, the end result was i used a bit too much on the races that led up to my goal race and i wasn’t able to perform the way i wanted on ‘the’ race day.  i moved and now i run with a group every weekend and in doing so i don’t race as much.  to no surprise, my goal races have been better.  my guess is i don’t use ‘it’ up on all those events in between.  so what does this have to do with learning and teaching?


my racing is just like testing.  standford, itbs, teks, benchmark, eoc, etc.  all those tests = all that effort.  there is no build up, no working towards a goal because the next ‘race’ is always right around the corner for these kids.  let me be clear about the build up, i DO NOT encourage one single ‘test’ in the classic term.  however i like the idea of students working hard, gathering resources, and producing…i’m talking about producing in an authentic manner that doesn’t involve bubbling and number 2 pencils.  i like the idea of students creating and having the opportunity to share the fruits of all their hard work in ways that show true mastery.

i didn’t stop racing all the time intentionally, but i’m starting to see how this method works best for me.  it’s not always about the next race or the times i run each weekend, rather it’s about methodically building myself up so i can be ready to perform.  i wish the same for all students.

1 Comment

Posted by on November 14, 2010 in venturing out of the cube


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One response to “why i stopped racing all the time

  1. Jeri

    November 14, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Although I’m not involved in the day to day conversations regarding the impact of testing on our children, infrequent dialogue with lay people and educators has me as concerned as ever. Conversations both locally and nationally reveal that despite what we know and the urgency regarding the transformation of teaching, we are still a long way from center.

    Everybody seems to know what’s right and best for kids-teaching students to problem solve, think critically, use resources to create authentic products–demonstrate mastery of relevant learning and transfer that successfully to real world experiences, yet it’s just not happening to necessary degrees.
    Perhaps the emphasis on high performing/producing teachers will help us turn the corner and put testing and true learning in their proper places. I’m hoping.


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