Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Completing Goals

As The Teacher Triathlete, it is appropriate that I have at least one post that addresses both teaching and triathlon together.  Last week, I finished my school year and my first triathlon in two years both within three days of each other.  Needless to say, I was an emotional mess.  Now, with these huge events behind me, it's refreshing to have time to reflect.  With that being said, this quick-read of a post is all about goal setting, setbacks, hard work, and success.

About two and a half years ago,  I had dreams of becoming an Ironman.  I just finished a successful first season of triathlon injury-free, and decided to register for multiple races in the upcoming season.  Training started in January, and my mind was more focused than ever!  Not only was my mind focused, but also my body was a triathlon-machine!  January, February, and March all breezed by.  My swimming, cycling, and running were stronger than ever.  With April came intensely painful back spasms from out of nowhere.  Still, I was determined.  I kept training.  I foolishly made my back issue worse.  Little did I know at the time that it would turn into a two-year struggle.  To make a long story short, after many frustrating appointments with doctors, physical therapists, and misdiagnoses,  I finally found the root cause (a hip disorder, not a back issue) and the proper treatment.  Training started up again.  After many failed attempts, I was finally able to make it back into the swim-bike-run world last weekend.  I had the goal to make it back into racing, and I realized that goal.  Now, I am more motivated than ever to continue to race and to try new athletic endeavors.  Indoor rock climbing or golf, anyone?

As you know, I always say that teaching is like triathlon.  The goal is to get all students to that finish line whether they walk or sprint.

Last week, I watched as 24 of my students achieved a huge goal:  They all successfully completed elementary school, and are now on their way to middle school.  It was a long road, and a few thought they'd never get there.  Yet, after a great deal of effort, hard work, and perseverance, they all achieved this goal.  Many accomplished smaller goals along the way.  One overcame severe shyness to give three different speeches in front of the class.  Another found the courage to face a very difficult family issue.  He made the choice to move forward with his school work despite the troubles at home.  One of my brave girls didn't let her cerebral palsy and balance difficulties set her apart from the others.  She proudly rode her adult-sized tricycle to school the last few months of the school year so she could have the same experience as her peers.   There are so many more stories of hard work, perseverance, and goal completion.  I'll perhaps share them another time.  Now,  it's time for my fifth grade kiddos to set new goals, find new successes, and move forward.  A couple even told me they'd love to give triathlon a shot one day.  Maybe they will!

The goal is to cross a finish line.  It really doesn't matter how one gets there.  What matters is the unparalleled feeling of finally crossing it after a great deal of hard work, perseverance, and heart... whether one walks or sprints.