Patti Digh and I, along with 11 other women from 10 cities in 8 different states, are doing our first half marathon on May 3 in Cincinnati. We have two goals: to raise money for Metropolitan Ministries, an organization that helps poor and homeless people get jobs, housing, etc., and to show that a group of women, most of us over 50 years old, can do anything we set our minds to do.
Amy McCracken sent Patti the following encouragement:
You can do it. All you really need to do is run a mile. Don't get distracted by having to do it 13 times. All you really need to do is run one mile. One mile. That puts you at mile 2, and well on your way. After that, you reach mile 3, and you can't believe you're out there doing exactly what you said you would a couple of months ago. Take a break at mile 4 and make up a story about the person who just whizzed past you. Imagine that they have overcome great odds to be there--and be inspired by their incredible (albeit imaginary) journey. The story you make up about them will probably have some truth to it. Ah, mile 5. It's just one mile. All you have to do is run a mile. At mile 6.2 you will have set a new personal best for your 10K time. Relish it. Somewhere between mile 6 and 7 you will reach the halfway point. Do not, do not, do not start thinking about Zeno's Dichotomy. You WILL reach your destination. Mile 7 will bring challenges in the form of hunger and possibly a new blister. Drink your water. Tell Emma a joke. Have one prepared in advance. Eight miles. Eight miles. Take in the fact that you have just walked/crawled/panted through eight miles. Spend mile 9 framing up the essay you will be writing about this experience. Think of the first line. At mile 10 you may have the pleasure of experiencing a fatigue that makes you an emotional firestorm. As your body starts to become more and more tired, your mind will race with memories of every sad thing that ever happened to you in your life. You'll ache for things you have lost. You will think of everyone you would like to see at the finish line, but who will not be there. You will wonder why everyone in the world doesn't just break down weeping at least once a day. You might weep. Right then and there at mile 10. Crying and running is so hard. Embrace it. Before you have completed mile 10, the universe will give you a sign that it is all going to be okay. And that you are exactly where you need to be. Doing what you need to be doing. For me, once, it came in the form of a falling leave that landed squarely into my upturned palm. That leaf was my long gone sister coming to finish the race with me. The stem of it is still taped to my finishers medal. Try to avoid the maniacal laughter that comes when you start realizing certain things at mile 11. Things such as Could it possibly be true that I traveled to this point voluntarily? You mean to tell me that I actually paid money to be here? The crowd goes wild at mile 12. Others are finished at this point and are already wearing their medals. They will line the course and cheer for you and all the runners who are still at it. You will feel their energy. Do NOT think about all of the people who have finished before you. Instead, think of the MILLIONS of people who you beat JUST BY SHOWING UP. A long time ago, I finished an early morning 8-mile trail run dead last. My son greeted me at the finish line and said, "Think of all of the people who didn't even sign up for this race--who would never even imagine doing this on a winter morning. You beat all of them". You'd think that once you reach mile 13 you are done. You will want to hunt down the person who decided that a half-marathon would be 13.1 miles. Insanity. I'm not gonna lie to you, that tenth of a mile might suck. But then, oh my gosh, then. Then. Then. Then. You will cross the finish line. I am not even going to try to tell you how you will feel. It's a secret. A treat. And it will be ALL yours. I promise you will love May 3. All you have to do is run one mile. xoxo
One mile at a time. Actually I think that's good advice for any goal you set yourself.
Patti and I toured Metropolitan Ministries last December during her book tour for Life is a Verb, and were impressed by the programs they have there. Last year, they helped more than 22,000 households. If you would like to make a donation, you can click here to go to their secure donation site.
Or you may mail your donation to:
Metropolitan Ministries 2002 North Florida Avenue Tampa, FL 33602
Be sure and note the Flying Pig Marathon-Kirk on your donation. And thanks for your support!
Every semester I have at least one student tell me that they've never made a grade as low as the one they just earned on their exam in my class. I'm always a little skeptical about that but this article helps explain why many students believe that if they put the time in, they should get an A and if they don't, it's the teacher's fault for making the exam too difficult. They concentrate on an external locus of control (the test is too hard) instead of an internal locus of control (I need to take better notes in class) which doesn't help them to improve on the next exam.
I find it useful to ask them to come see me in my office, to bring all their class notes, and to walk me through how they prepare for an exam. I then get a chance to suggest that they get additional notes from class mates in case they missed something, to study with their teams, or to use note cards to write out specific terms or concepts they need to know. It seems to help.
Any suggestions from others on how to address the "Your tests are too hard" statement?
Got this from The Faculty Lounge: Two perspectives on "the role that student evaluations should play in determining the quality / proficiency of teaching and the classroom experience" that were originally published in the Houston Chronicle. I'm curious what others think. How much weight should be given to student evaluations of our teaching?
There's an interesting article today by Professor Robert Cummings (Columbus State University) on how he uses Wikipedia as a class writing assignment. If you're interested, here's a great video by Jon Udell that walks you through how Wikipedia works
Last week I did a midterm teaching evaluation in one of my classes. While I was looking for feedback on class activities, exams, etc,. one student did write:
I am personally impressed in the way Dr. Kirk dresses-very professional. I come from a community college and have never seen a teacher dressed as well as her.
I personally believe dressing professionally in class is important as I feel this shows respect for the students and also helps to role model for them on how to be professional.
A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education gives advice to faculty on how to dress for a job interview. As noted in the article:
Remember, the objective isn't to draw attention to what you're wearing but rather to draw attention away from your appearance and toward the substance of your candidacy. You want to be dressed neatly and appropriately enough that committee members say to themselves, "OK, this person looks fine, now let's see what he or she has to say." What you don't want is for them to spend the entire hour staring at your unusual dress or your garish tie, wondering what the heck you were thinking.
I would say the same is true for what we wear to our classes...
According to Professor Jackie Andrade (University of Plymouth), "If someone is doing a boring task, like listening to a dull telephone conversation, they may start to daydream... Daydreaming distracts them from the task, resulting in poorer performance. A simple task, like doodling, may be sufficient to stop daydreaming without affecting performance on the main task."
Email does not give us cues such as tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language.
The ability to instantly reply to email leads people to think and
write quickly without thinking through what they're saying and how it
might be perceived.
If you have not developed a personal rapport with the other person,
communicating by email can create problems when you disagree or have
"According to one study, e-mail
users have only a 50-50 chance of correctly interpreting the intended
tone of an e-mail." First impressions and stereotypes cause us to
assign intent or assumptions that are not necessarily true.
How to avoid problems with email? "Read it aloud in the
opposite way you intend, whether serious or sarcastic. If it makes
sense either way, revise." And if you are discussing sensitive issues
or having a conflict with the other person, communicate in person or by