#2015Goals – New Years Resolutions

I recently tweeted that my #2015Goals include being as fierce as Rosie Perez on SoulTrain.

While this is accurate (I mean, who doesn’t want to live like Rosie?), It’s not exactly what I’m thinking. I normally spend each year going back and back, reflecting on progress from the previous year

Last year, though, the only thing I wanted to do was seek joy. Some big life changes (going back to the classroom, writing more, marathon running again), have helped me really feel like I’m getting there.

So, sure, I have some race goals and teaching goals I want to make, but here’s some actual resolutions I am trying to put on paper:

1) I will be more of an explorer. When I first moved to the island almost three years ago, I didn’t know anyone outside of work, and would sometimes wake up at sunrise, hop in my car, and head to a beach. I marveled at Makapu‘u in the early morning, I grew to love the vistas of driving to the North Shore as the sun came up.

I tried everything when I moved here: body boarding (I was okay but not great), aerial yoga and performance (great, but expensive), MMA (that one kind of stuck!).

Now, three years later, I am much more settled: great job, great apartment across the street, loving boyfriend, amazing friends. Living in Hawai‘i has transitioned from being this fanciful pipe dream to a real life that I’m building.  

I love that, but I also want to make sure I never lose sight of the fact that I am so grateful to live in this beautiful place. I want to make sure I appreciate that more. So: more hikes, more spontaneous beach trips and walks, more island hopping and general willingness to not be a “townie” and head all over this beautiful land I get to call home.

2) I will love big, widen my circle, and deepen what I have. I just wrote about this, but yes.

I want to make sure to keep building and hopefully deepen some of the great connections I already have, like with NoW Hawaii, a group of twenty-something professional women. Still, I know there are all sorts of things to get involved in out here. Maybe a running club? Maybe a Triathlon training group? Who knows! Don’t worry, though. I also want to practice self-care and let me do me when I need to.

3) Laugh often. Seek Joy Always. I like this resolution. I think I will keep it for this year too. 🙂

So… there you have it! I also have some things I really WANT to do:

Teaching Goals

  • Teach the arts again, hopefully this summer! Drama perhaps, but also maybe writing? Who knows.
  • Improve my CFUs and formative assessment. Plan better so that there’s fun ways to make sure my kids and I are on the same page while we read, not just at the end.
  • Plan this summer to have next year’s kids start with a strong social media and web-savvy culture.

Running Goals

  • I JUST WANT A SUB-4 MARATHON OKAY. THAT’S IT. DAMMIT. *shakes angry fist at the sky*
    • (context: I got 4:04:49 at Honolulu this year. I never thought I’d get that close and NOW I WANT IT. I WANT IT SO BAD)
  • I want to get better about tracking my mileage. I stopped doing that and timing myself (I’ll write about why some day) over the past few years. I want to get better at being a smarter runner.
  • Speed work outs and trying to stop being such a conservative racer. Again, more on that another time.

Other life goals

  • Write more! (duh)
  • Maybe act more?!
  • Cook more!

Alright 2015. Let’s do this thing.

People Are Terrifying (An Apology)

I have done this. And I’m sorry.

“There’s just too many people here,” I whispered to my mom at the beach earlier today.

“I know,” her nose crinkled like mine does, “but it’s nice to share.”

“…Maybe I just don’t like people.”

I promise, I’m familiar with the term “introvert.” I’ve written about being an introvert for Teach For America, and why I think introvert students need to be cared for. I’ve identified myself pretty strongly as an INFP (I even have a hat) for a few years now. Susan Cain’s Quiet (and its TedTalk) meant quite a lot to me.

So, I’ve gotten pretty good at identifying my own needs. I’m glossing over a bit because, frankly, I’m worried that my friends and loved ones are tired of hearing me talk about it because I talk/think about it so much. I even feel like “revealing that you’re an introvert” is a cool thing to do now, something that people post memes about on tumblr and say, “omg this is so totally me!”

And maybe it is, and that’s good. I don’t want to be jaded here. I’m glad more people are thinking about what they need and how to advocate for it. That’s clearly a good thing.

It’s good for me to even check myself, since we’ve come to the crux of my matter: I don’t come across as an introvert. When I first wrote about it, I had quite a few people tell me they couldn’t believe it. That’s fair. I teach for a living now, so I’m around people for about 85% of my day (which, I’ll admit, is tiring. More on that later though).

Here’s the thing: I love people. I enjoy, generally, being in front of people, and I try to be a good conversationalist. When I’m in the right mood, I love hearing stories and learning more about people. I am always so grateful when people let me into their lives.

Still, something about new people, when I’m not in the right mood (and honestly, it’s like a 50% chance I’m not), is completely and utterly terrifying. And exhausting. What if they don’t like me? Or I don’t like them and it’s obvious on my stupid, Muppety, heart-on-my-sleeve face? What if they keep asking me questions? Or I don’t know what to say? Or I say something dumb? I’m just tired, and I already deal with people a lot. Can’t I stay home and quietly watch something? Or read? Or even tweet, which is the most introverted way of being extraverted ever?

50% of the time, that’s honestly what it is. Terror. Anxiety. Now, being in a job that requires me to be around people, the stakes feel higher, even if it’s different. I mean, my students have to be around me, so I care a little less if they like me (though obviously I care). Since so much of my time, though, is spent worrying whether or not I’m acting the right way, my me-time only feels more precious.

Looking back, though, on people I’ve met, on friendships I could have formed, on the people on the cusp of friendship I have now– I know what often stands in the way is my own mini-anxiety-attack about people. I have missed out on or straight up avoided seeing people or picking up phone calls because I am worried that I won’t be able to handle the emotional toll of that interaction. It is, often, easier to stay home quietly and avoid the 50% chance that I screw everything up. The only pass is my guy, who (like my students) I hope loves me even when I am a terrible human. Even then, sometimes we have nights that are separate or silent, because we both need it.

He sees me all the time though. What about the people that I’ve given every reason to give up on me because it always looks like I don’t care? I promise I care. I promise I’m grateful, and that I probably think you’re great. I just have no way of telling you that because every time I think about randomly letting you know my throat seizes and my pupils widen in panic.

I wrote in my last post about trying to find balance, and I guess that’s what I’m trying to figure out as I type. What’s the balance between accepting your introversion and not completely cutting yourself off? At what point is claiming “introversion” just a shield for “anxiety about meeting people”? And how do I figure that out?

Anyway, I promise myself in 2015 (resolution post to come!), I am going to try and be better about this. I am going to try and find that balance, to move past my own anxiety and love big and crazy.

And to anyone that might have felt blown off by me, I’m really sorry. I promise it wasn’t you. It was 50% of me.

Over-Planning and Keeping the Adventure

Hello again. It seems like I got a few followers from my last post. Cool! Hi! *wave*

Anyway,  I just set a 5 min timer. I’m going to try and write for at least as long as my students have to. That seems like a good start (though I’ll probably go over).

I had to ignore the alarm I set on my clock to write each week because I got caught up in lesson planning. I’m pretty behind of what I thought I’d get done over the break, which I finally realized today. Definitely my own fault– I forgot to bring the books my kids are reading, which is about the dumbest thing ever. I blame the sudden and complete overthrow of productive-brain for vacation-brain.

So I started jamming today, and realized a few things:

1) The online app for student discussion I had planned on using with my students doesn’t actually fit my needs. Through a series of tweets, a facebook post, and even a G+ post, I’m trying to crowdsource the best response. BTW if you stumble upon this post and know one, I’d love to hear from you.

2) I need to give my students more formative assessment over the course of a book. They asked for it! I allowed my students to give feedback, and most of them said they want to do MORE while we’re reading. So, time to get crafty and figure out some great projects for them to do.

and finally 3)

I’m worried about over-planning, however, and ruining the sense of adventure and spontaneity that I can gain with my students.

Some background: I’ve never been great at lesson-planning, or just planning in general. It’s always been a HUGE area of struggle for me in my practice. I have the skills to create a good project plan, but when it comes to the doing of something, I’m a big procrastinator. This is actually a reason I went back to the classroom– the jobs that I had had were all fuzzy and “project based,” which I appreciate, but realized is not an environment I do well in. I am trying to own the fact that, unless I’m REALLY COMPLETELY hyped about a project, or someone is going to hold me accountable to get something done (like, say, 28 children in a classroom looking at me saying, “What are we doing today, Ms. T?”), it’s going to be completed in the 5 minutes before I need it.

Now, this has been generally fine this year. I did make a point to unit plan my year, and the school I work at has a daily English curriculum that we follow each day. Beyond believing in it as a curriculum, it makes my life MUCH easier as a teacher. That said, I am worried about getting lazy and falling back on this too much, something I think I may have done at the end of this semester, and lose out on the opportunity to do some great projects.

SO, I’ve been trying to get better about planning. What I’m worried about, though, is that if I over-plan now, I won’t leave any wiggle room for some fun projects I come up with on the fly. For example: after hearing some of my students talk about Instagram, I got the idea to have them create Instagram accounts for characters in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (my example). I threw the activity together that morning, which was nuts but often where my best ideas come to light, and the kids and I had a blast. They also did a great write-up.

In general, I am trying to leave things more up to God to point in my direction (I think St. Ignatius called this “spiritual freedom” or “ambivalence”). This morning, for example, I had planned to do a 12-mile long run. I wasn’t feeling it almost as soon as I started, but I tried to keep moving and power through. As I was running, I realized that there was a national park open I’d never explored before. I decided to head over and check it out. Did it screw with my splits and mileage? Sure, but it was really pretty and certainly fun.

So how do you find balance between good planning and the freedom to play? How can I make sure I don’t get lazy and not push my kiddos and myself, but still let us take the time we need? In an education environment so test-heavy and over-focused on scores (which I am always worried my school will become), I want to make sure I enjoy the fact that my kids aren’t hindered by this and we can take the time to explore stuff.

Anyway, beyond that, life’s good. Planning, writing, running, napping. Ah vacation, you are great.

I also, by the way, have a 2015 Resolutions post coming. I decided to submit something to HuffPost Hawai‘i though, so we’ll see if it gets play there first.

Running On and On

Oh hello world.

I haven’t written in a bit, and now here I am changing things up.

I spend quite a bit of time writing about race and education. I usually labor over those pieces: I don’t start writing unless I have a few hours (and a drink) set aside to write. I have to have a very specific reason to be writing. I have to know almost exactly where I’m going. Since I do write a bit about race, I make it a point to be very thoughtful about what I write. I stew in questions and angles to make sure I’ve considered everything I need to.

I like that about myself. I think it’s helped me produce some pieces I’m very proud of. Some pieces that I’ve been lucky enough to get a lot of good readership in my bubble. The issue is that I rarely write for pleasure anymore. I rarely write for the sake of just getting things down, flexing the writing muscles, and just documenting this crazy little life I’m living.

So I’ve decided to try something out. I’m setting aside every Monday evening (the night I normally try and set aside for myself) to just write. Document something. Maybe about running– I’m trying to sub-4 a marathon in 2015– or about teaching.

So here I am. 27, running on and on. I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.