March 9, 2014

Passion Part 2

The night before the job application deadline (as described in last post) was a very restless one. Hubby and I talked a lot about it. One of the many things I love about my hubby is that he very seldom gives me advice or tries to tell me what to do. And when he does, it is very well-thought out and always spot-on. When it came to the curriculum coordinator job, he told me that the job sounded easy enough, that I was more than qualified, would be great at it, BUT... it didn't seem like I'd be happy. He told me that when I merely talked about the job, my facial expressions changed and my voice became dull. I was clearly NOT excited about the job. Yes, teaching was kicking my absolute butt, and it's chaotic and crazy, and exhausting, but it's ME. I'm just not ready to leave that part behind yet. True that I could always go back to the classroom if the new job was a total bomb, but most teachers that leave the classroom never go back. I'm not quite ready for that yet. I still get excited about the projects, the hugs, kids learning new things, and the day-to-day chaos. Yes, it's hard hard work, especially the special needs end of things. However, my heart is not in a new job right now. And when I look deep inside, teaching is part of who I am still. So, I didn't apply. What's crazy is the next day, my principal texted me (guessing she didn't want to use school email in case someone checks it) to tell me that the deadline was only a few hours away, hint hint. But, even that didn't change my mind. And just as hubby predicted, I felt a sense of relief the next day after the deadline had passed. So, staying in the crazy house for now. LOL.

Yesterday was an emotional day for me. Must of been a combination of being utterly mentally and physically exhausted and the pregnancy hormones. We had our first track meet yesterday! Our original season opener was scheduled for Thursday, but a series of thunderstorms forced the school to cancel. Yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL day with highs in the mid 60s and bright skies. I have quite a few new runners on the distance team this year. They are all freshman, and credit goes to one of my freshman XC athletes for recruiting them. I've been really trying to specialize training for my team. I usually have one basic workout, but about 3 different variations going at once. I choose a veteran athlete to be the pacer/leader of the group. I feel like my plan is going pretty well, but who knows. I just do the best I can with what I know and what I'm given. My brand new runners did AWESOME! One kid busted out a 2:11 800, and he did it from the slowest heat (because he didn't have any previous timed runs in the computer software program). It was awesome to watch him annihilate his competitors, but more importantly, build that confidence. And I did assure him that next time he would have a some real competition in a faster heat. My other athletes did great, too. One of my boys participated in his very first sporting event. Like ever. The kid is 14 years old and never participated in any type of sports. He didn't finish last, and later told me that he had a great time and couldn't wait to race again.

I don't want to over-share on the blog, but I also have a very troubled new runner that has passed around many different foster care homes for most of his childhood. His new foster parents encouraged him to try running as a positive and healthy way to channel his energy. This was also his first race, and he did great, too. After his race, he gave me a huge hug and told me thank you. Cue pregnancy hormone water works. And because I wasn't enough of a basket case, one of our girl throwers confided in me that she is pregnant. Yes, she's 15 with a long road ahead of her. I spent the whole bus ride home talking to her about life stuff, mostly pregnancy things and how to take care of herself. She does live with her mom, and her mom knows, but she said that her mom is so angry with her that she won't talk to her about the baby or how she's feeling. Hopefully in upcoming weeks, the anger will fade and she can get the support from home that she needs. I'm not sure if it's maternal instincts kicking in or what, but I got in my car after the meet and cried the whole way home. It is so HARD to see kids you care about struggle. And this girl is so scared. Being pregnant is scary enough without still being a child and seeing your future go up in smoke. Big tough stuff.

Through my tears after the meet, I couldn't help but feel a huge sense of urgency in my coaching. And I am going to use the term "coaching" quite loosely. Many teachers and coaches know that it often isn't about the workouts you plan or the lessons you teach, but the way you interact with youth, the way you guide them. 13 years ago when i interviewed for teaching positions, I was drawn to lower socioeconomic areas. I couldn't explain why at the time, but over a decade in, it's finally making sense. Children need someone. And while I will never be the smartest teacher with the greatest lessons, or the best coach with the fabulous training plans, I am okay giving them what I can give the best- my heart and compassion. For those of you that teach in areas of poverty understand the many challenges that kids face. Not that kids from higher affluent areas don't face challenges, but I think (actually I KNOW) the needs are quite different.

What I also took away from yesterday's meet was that we are finally becoming a team. Coach C is making a noticeable effort to work better with me, and I am reciprocating the effort, providing us with an actual working relationship. We're getting things done out there. The kids are bonded, new and old. They are training hard, and eventually (hopefully) maybe the success will show on the scoreboard. And if it doesn't? That's okay. We got more kids running this year, and like that Penguin Dude says, it's often about having the courage to start.

Run Happy and GO BEARS!


  1. So sad to hear about the situation with the teenager. Hopefully things will get better with her and her mom.

    Glad things are better with Coach C.

    Oh and that comment about not being the "smartest teacher with the greatest lessons, or the best coach with the fabulous training plans", I think you are the smartest teacher and the best coach.

  2. "I am okay giving them what I can give the best- my heart and compassion."

    They are so blessed to have this most blessed of gifts from you! I am certain it will be paid forward exponentially. You are an inspiration.

  3. Bill Walton on Coach John Wooden: "...he lead by being himself..."

    Yes, I just compared you to John Wooden. But a girl, and more compassionate. And faster. :)

    You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned that it's not the workouts or the training, but giving these kids stability, compassion, and acceptance. We work with runners on the opposite sides of the Socioeconomic ladder, and while they have drastically different issues, the common theme is patience and acceptance. We all need more of that.

    I am so proud of you! You made the right decision for you. Keep doing the little things, they will add up to big things.

  4. So glad you came to a career decision that you are happy with - because really, that's what is important!

    And hooray for things improving with your coaching situation. I hope the upward swing continues and good luck to your kiddos!

  5. It sounds like you had an a-ha moment and now you have a fresh perspective on your job. That's great! I think it's good that you seriously considered a change but that you had the self-awareness to know it wasn't right. I am ALWAYS in awe of how much you give of yourself to your kids. They are so lucky to have someone who genuinely cares.