One of the most difficult things about teaching is the grading. I want my students to improve, so grading is necessary, but I also don’t like to discourage them by making negative comments on their papers. I can still remember frowning faces drawn by early elementary teachers, comments that said my teachers were very disappointed with me because I was so smart but lazy in intermediate grades, high school teachers who only marked a few pages of the papers I’d spent hours writing, and college professors who said I really needed to learn how to write. I don’t want to put those stumbling blocks in front of my students. Even though I am 37, when I sit down to write, I still have to remind myself to put away the voices of past teachers.
That being said, next year I am bringing out the big guns. My students will not know what hit them. We’re working on kicking everything up a notch. We’re going to write more, read more, learn more literary terms and devices, and we’re going to end up super smart by May, not that my students right now aren’t super smart. I just know that I can drive them much more passionately than what I have this year. The trick is not leaving behind those students who might need more help. This is the dance, and this is where the extra hours come in.
Though, I have to work extra hours, sometimes I get an occasional bonus day, like today, when my students are taking standardized exams. On free days, I grade, write, and read, which I suppose doesn’t really make them free days. I like them, though, because they are slow days. The one drawback is that I miss my students, and I miss watching them learn. That’s the pay-off of teaching, watching your students grasp a new concept or formulate a new idea. There is nothing else like feeling that you somehow had a part in their accomplishments.
The barefoot running is going well. I just finished reading this book by Barefoot Ken Bob, and I strongly recommend it if you’re going to try barefoot running. Though it is pretty repetitive, the repetition helped to cement the concepts and techniques into my head. Lift your feet, bend your knees, maintain a straight posture, fall forward at your hips, and increase your cadence. This is the beautiful simplicity of barefoot running.
However, for some reason my right foot keeps getting small blisters on the ball. I am not sure if it is because I toe off or because I land too hard on that side. I do know that my right leg is slightly longer than my left, and that my form has to have something to do with it. They aren’t bad blisters and I know that I can still run much farther without pain than I could in shoes. And my recovery time is far less than it was before. All in all, barefoot running has changed my life.
In order to make sure that change sticks even through winter and super hot summer pavement, I ordered a pair of Brancas last night. They were only $30 and they seem a much better idea than VFFs, because the sole is thinner and it isn’t formed to fit the foot. Simply put, they are a flat piece of rubbery goodness that fits between the sole of the foot and ground to guard from heat or cold and nothing else. They have shipped, so I hope to get them before we head to Cincy on the 8th-grade trip.