My Personal Best


My new ‘friends’?

Recently, I began trying to run.  This is very new for me, and therefore still quite scary.  I have wanted to do this for quite some time, but never crossed the threshold from walking to a quicker pace.  When I tried it out for the first time, I was excited and nervous.  It felt great, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep going for very long.  Today, I surprised myself and was able to run twice the amount of time compared to that first day.   I raised my hands in the air as if I had just completed a marathon.  It was my personal best.


It feels so good to press this button!

At this point in time, it didn’t matter that I knew other runners who could actually complete marathons.  It didn’t matter that my face was a shade between pink & purple.  The most phenomenal athlete could have walked in the room and I wouldn’t have been intimidated at all.  I was thrilled to improve.

Can we encourage our students to celebrate and enjoy their personal bests?  What happens when they are able to grasp an idea, a technique or theory?  What happens when they have a lightbulb moment and they understand something new?

It’s so hard for some students to enjoy their own achievements when they’re busy comparing themselves to others.  This year, I hope to find more ways to help students focus on their own learning, their needs and their successes.  Then, we can celebrate together!

This entry was posted in Art Education, Education, Growing Success and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to My Personal Best

  1. Congrats! Keep it up–I try to run a few times a week, and I feel so much healthier when I do. And, of course, some great thoughts on how to connect that to our teaching. That’s why I love reading what you write 🙂

  2. bgrasley says:

    Awesome, glad to hear you’re running too!

    Even when comparing with only myself, it’s easy to get discouraged if today’s run isn’t longer or faster or whatever than my last run. I sometimes have to remind myself that I can’t improve in those measures every single time I run, and that I don’t even always want to. Instead, I remind myself that getting out there at all is better than sitting on the couch, so that’s a form of success on its own.

    I find this in other pursuits too. I won’t always paint a masterpiece. I can’t always cook a gourmet meal (it’s usually edible, at least). That door is maybe a little bit crooked, but I’m not rehanging now.

    And I think it translates well to our teaching. We do always want our students to improve, but they should know that it’s acceptable and expected that they’ll have some work that’s less than their best. If we don’t recognize this, we make it more likely that small “failures” [I hesitate to use the word] will be too discouraging to the students. This isn’t to say they should develop a “good enough” attitude, but that they should understand they won’t always be better than before.

    So let’s celebrate the successes, celebrate the improvements, and also celebrate the attempts. Let’s recognize the value of perseverance.

    • colleenkr says:

      I kept thinking about my ‘running friends’ while writing this post, and I’m glad to have your perspective here. Your insights are spot-on. While focusing on improvement, it’s so important to focus on the attempts too, and I’m so happy that you mentioned it. It’s also comforting that I can take a bit of pressure off of myself the next time I’m on the treadmill…

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