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Not Enough

Jen Robinson Education, Life in the Classroom, Teacher Leadership

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Three miles is not enough. Mile one presents angst and anxiety, my mind is full and racing. The thoughts of turning around, running home and crawling back into bed creep in. The only thing keeping me going sometimes is simply, the fact that I’ve tossed and turned the past three hours trying to calm my mind and fall back asleep, with no success. So, I keep going.

Mile two offers some clarity and focus. By now I’ve slipped into a lumbering pace and hardly think about how cold it is, how dark 4:30 am is or how far I’ve run. I focus on watching the sidewalk and keeping my dogs in front of me so I don’t trip over a seam or tumble over them when they stop short.  I begin to focus on what has kept me awake. I am seeing problems much clearer. I talk through things in my head, begin to organize my thoughts and brainstorm solutions.

By mile three, I begin to narrow my thoughts and rehearse conversations in my head. I look at different perspectives and categorize my options. I begin to notice lights on in houses and vehicles passing by. I am in tune with dogs barking and traffic lights changing. I feel less stress and anxiety as I find my pace quickening and less labored. I feel a sense of relief, as I am no longer jumbled and stuck inside my head, but actually seeing my problems as opportunities.

Here’s when I start to realize that three miles is not enough. So, I keep running. I notice the stars and moon, the morning sky starting to lighten the dark of night. I see constellations and notice frost on the windows, shadows cast by the street lights and begin to organize my options, exploring pathways to conquer the day. I can see things clearly now and have options I can articulate. I begin to see possible outcomes.

Here is where it’s hard. I have to decide whether to keep going or turn for home. I want to keep running and running. What do you do to get out of your head? How do you calm your racing thoughts and focus on turning problems into opportunities?

 

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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  • Angela Buzan

    This is a great teaching analogy. Two miles is so hard— I always and often quit. As soon as I hit that 5k mark, I feel like I could double down and run another hour. And what a difference in makes in my internal and external well being for days. I’m trying to get back into running, and I’m somehow still surprised at how much it has done for my teaching and is, of course, analogous to teaching.