Challenging Myself to Challenge Others

Finals is a time for pushing oneself.  Taking everything you’ve learned in a course and going into put up or shut up mode.  My world history students had a 2 hour block of time to write two essays.  Many of them said it’s the longest single period of sustained work they’ve ever done, and while challenging, they felt that they had all the knowledge and skills necessary to complete it.  That’s the sign of a good final exam to me.  A significant challenge, yet still accessible to the vast majority of the class.

As a teacher I try to do my best modeling best practices for my colleagues and students.  If I ask my students to put in their best work at all times I’d better be doing the same to show them that hard work is a lifestyle, not something that is only true while you’re in school.  I push myself to be the best teacher, husband, athlete, friend, and cook that I know how to be.

In this spirit I’m taking the responsibility of promptly scoring my students final exams extremely seriously.  Not so seriously that I sacrifice everything else in my life, but seriously enough that when it’s work time I work with minimal breaks and reduced distractions.  No Facebook open while I’m grading.  No grading in front of the TV.  Turn the phone to silent for a while.  Modeling the behaviors I ask of my students even if they never know about it.

Finals were Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of this week and I’m proud to say that I’m already halfway finished with scoring them.  All the other extraneous late work, rewrites, and skill checks are taken care of, so it’s just two classes worth of essays left between me and finalized grades for first semester.  I’m pushing myself to maintain my high standards and have all my grades finalized by the end of the day Saturday.

Today’s workout is a good example too.  Before today I’d never truly failed a squat.  Today I had complete muscle failure trying to squat 260 pounds. I had to drop the weight.  I’d never failed because I told myself that to do heavy squats I need a spotter, or I need to work up to it for fear of injury.  Well, that’s why there are the adjustable rails on the squat rack.  They catch your weight.  Today’s “failed” squat at 260 pounds gives me more confidence to push myself than my successful (PR) squat at 255.  I know that when I push myself next time I can really do it.  Worst case I have to sit down and drop the weight.  The fear is gone.  I broke my own mental barrier.

To continue pushing myself I’m doing my own “Fitness Final”.  On Saturday I’m tackling the “filthy fifty” a workout I thought I needed to work up to, and wait to try until I “got a little better.”  The workout is 10 different exercises at 50 reps each.  I might not finish on Saturday.  I might fail, but I know that I can push myself as hard as I need to, then come back to the workout and beat my time.

Workout for 1 Feb:

Rings skills.  Ring support position, pull-ups, push-ups, dips, L-sits to inverted hang to inverted pike.

Back Squats:
1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
225, 235, 245, 250, 255 (PR by 30#!), 260 (fail)

Matadoors

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