Do you have other hobbies/interests that you bring into your classroom teaching? Explain.
I started running when I was engaged and planning to drop a few pounds before my wedding in 2009. I didn’t think it would be anything that would last longer than June 2010. What I realized was that I had found an activity that both modified my body, but cleansed my mind, gave me a goal to work towards, and gave me a greater sense of pride in myself than anything had up until that point. I began to read and study the art of running. I signed up for races, developed my own personal training program, and bought into the hype. Before I knew it, I had started running half marathons and enjoyed it! I was a runner.
I bring my love and history of running into the classroom to help demonstrate to my students that benefits of working through the difficulties towards a greater goal. I share with them that there were many times, more times than not, I wanted to give up. I wanted to stop right in the middle of a run, the middle of a race to walk back to my car and go home. I knew the joy and pride I would have if I kept going, and knew the list of reasons why I had started with that first step, and kept going. I also share with them the cathartic aspect of working through a difficult task. Most of the time when I share this with students, it’s in relation to the usual school-related topics:
- Coming to school on a regular basis
Ultimately, this connection works. I hang up my race medals in my classroom as an allegory to those sentiments: Work Hard, Achieve Greatness; Learn Who You Are Through Your Struggles
You cannot be a teacher and not have students assume that you’re a book nerd. I grasp this assumption by the coffee cup handles and drink it all in. Naturally, I share my love of reading with my students. Not only do I let them know that I am a reader, I bring the hobby to school with me in all it’s glory and blemishes. I let my students know that I have not read as much as I would like to; I”m not as well-read as I should be. By letting them know that I am not perfect, that I struggle to maintain focus and interest in books as well as they do, they know that their experiences are normal. Additionally, it shows them that I am interested in what they are. It’s become well known around my school that I am huge John Green fan. I show his vlogs, loan out my copies of his novels, and have even created an after-school event to watch “The Fault in Our Stars” on its premiere night. Do I hyperbolize my fangirl status with John Green? A bit; that’s not to say that my admiration is any less. I do this because I want my students to know that I am undeniably enraptured with my love of reading and experiencing.
A few students know that I write my own blog. Most of them know that I write, both creatively and for my own cathartic needs. Similar to my love of running and reader, when I talk to my students about my own writing, I share with them both my triumphs, but my struggles as well.
Additionally, I use my own blogging experience to support my requirement for them to maintain their own blogs. I run down the reasons for why students should write, always looking for new scientific and emotional reasons to further support my statements. Here is an example: