During one of my many hours of reading blogs, books, etc….(I just love reading and learning) I am not quite sure whether this was a blog post or a tweet by another educator, there was a challenge for educators to take the summer and learn something new, something totally unrelated to the job of being a teacher. Challenge accepted!
Well, I was so overly excited because I knew exactly what I wanted to learn. I had even bought the necessary equipment and had made a few attempts watching a few “how to get started” videos. So in honor of my grandmother’s gift, since she was a master artist at this, I was going to learn how to crochet. Hmm, well, the yarn and the needle are still sitting in the Ziploc bag. So yeah challenge was accepted and almost a fail until recently.
Now, you see my husband is a cyclist, well not just any cyclist, a champion cyclist, a local hero here, who has competed internationally in Australia, India, England, Scotland and the list goes on representing his country. And for some reason he finds and marries the one woman that does not know how to ride a bicycle, ironic isn’t it. So what does the cycling champ get his wife as a gift one Christmas, well…. a bike, of course!
My husband made the bike stationary so I could ride it as part of my morning workout. During my 20 minute workout bike ride I pretend I’m a pro cyclist, with dreams of holding my husband hands while riding on an open road, breeze flowing through my hair, between a row of trees in a country side (a place I’m not sure exists where I live).
Reality came crashing in……..
I finally decided one Sunday, this was the day I was going to learn to ride my bike for real. My husband and my stepson were all too pleased, and I felt like I was a piece of coconut tart on display as the two of them stood watching and grinning, while I walked past them struggling to get my bike into the safety of the backyard away from any “only now she learning how to ride a bike” glaring eyes (I do realize this is all in my head). Then my husband yells “you’ll learn in 5 minutes”. I’m thinking to myself, “yeah ok buddy, my dad and I tried this thing back when I was 8 and I ended up in a prickly kosha tree, we’ll see”.
My darling husband helped me to get on the bike and he held on to the back of the bike at first. At some point, I don’t know exactly when, but he let go AND I was doing ok. I was moving quickly without wobbling all over the place and for a while I felt like I was in control. Until I realized he didn’t tell me how to stop, even though my bike has hand breaks, I didn’t even think to use them.
Then I tried to get on the bike by myself. It took me several attempts just to figure out how to get on and get going without falling.
I spent a good 30 minutes or more, practicing and trying, sweating profusely at the mercy of my husband and my stepson who tried to coach me, give instructions and words of encouragement, which wasn’t easy. For everything they told me to do I had a defensive reaction, a response, I must admit I was not the best student.
I needed the moments alone to just get on and go. I was reminded; you will not get this right away.
My stepson with a grin of pure teeth told me “just believe in yourself”.
Then it hit me, they were saying the very same things that I say. They were doing the same things I do when I’m teaching, only this time I was the struggling student. I was the one that needed someone to be patient and give me time.
Professional development is not just about training to get to the next level of your career nor is it about enhancing your skills all the time. My bike lesson was a professional development. It was fun and hard work. It was also an unexpected lesson providing me an opportunity to experience what struggling learners experience every day.
So the next time you are searching for a professional development, challenge yourself to something new and reflect on the journey. I did!
My name is Tamara Pradel. I’m the Technology Innovation Educationist.