Friday, September 2, 2011

Take My Hand & We'll Make It I Swear... Ohhh Living On a Prayer.

They say that your first year of teaching is often your most challenging.  I will definitely vouch for this statement.  I am so tired when I go home at night.  The weekends are a mix of playing, picking, and planning.  The week days are spent mainly teaching, planning, grading, and just plain old classroom managing.  I'm holding up pretty well though.  I'm really lucky to have all the support I have from my staff, family, friends, and significant other.

In more uplifting news... I am now a co-coach for the cross country team with the other new teacher.  Those of you who knew me before moving to Alaska might remember that I am NOT the most active person.  But the kids here REALLY wanted a team.  We actually have about 20 students ranging from 5th grade to seniors!  Now I must say the kids here really surprised me with how enthusiastic they were with running.  We started with warm ups and stretching then had the whole group start with an easy tempo run.  The bigger kids took off and stayed at the head of the pack.  I, on the other hand, was happy to be the cheerleader at the end group.  That was quite the experience.

The kids in the back were the 5th graders that joined cross country just because they were eligible.  About 1/10th of the way through the run I had my first kid want to give up.  As I said before, I'm not an avid runner so I understood how the kids were feeling but for some reason I was not going to let them see me give up.  So I spent the rest of the time yelling, "YOU CAN DO IT!" or "WE'RE GOING TO MAKE IT TO THE END, EVEN IF WE HAVE TO HOLD HANDS THE REST OF THE WAY."   By the end I had one student that didn't want to keep running with me or the other 5th graders.  So I let him fall behind and got the rest to the last checkpoint.  As the group sprinted to the school (our starting and finish line), I turned around and saw my last runner still struggling.  Somewhere deep inside me there was a surge of energy that killed the exhaustion and pain my body was feeling, and I  backtracked to the kid with a genuine smile on my face.

When I got there the kid must have felt the same surge of energy because he began smiling and ran as fast as he could to the final checkpoint.  We sprinted together the rest of the run and collapsed at the top of the school steps completely exhausted and soaked from the rain.  After catching his breath the student said to me, "Big kids like me don't run.  I can't believe that I made it all the way."  I was proud to have made it to the end with the team, but what the last runner said to me made everything worth it. 

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