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.