You can always give yourself a reason why you aren’t reaching a goal. But even if you have valid reasons, difficult challenges, in the end, it’s a bunch of bunk. If you really want something, you should find a way. For several years, I struggled with my weight and declining physical fitness. There were so many good reasons not to exercise. I was working many hours and sometimes second jobs. I had my own children to feed, house, counsel and chauffeur. But one day, I decided I wanted to change and I started running. Within 6 months, I had lost 50 pounds and was training for a half marathon. Within a year, I had run a full. The obstacles were still there. I had to run before dawn. I had to run late at night after long days at work. But in my mind, missing a single day on my training plan was not an option because it might lead to a pattern. So I learned that when you make up your mind, you really can do what you wish to do.
Knowing this made me look at the rest of my life. I have dreams for my job: create a vibrant program that students flock to, produce outstanding publications, modernize our operations to prepare students for the modern media scene. And often I skirt right along the edge of these dreams with hints of success and small steps forward. But there have always been deal-breaking obstacles in my mind. I teach in a very low socioeconomic school. Many of my students are below grade level in reading and writing. A significant number of students speak English as a second language. Kids come to school tired from working over 20 hours a week, or hungry after a weekend of deprivation or distracted by home experiences that are hard to even fathom. Some students are fresh out of jail or lead transient lives from being in the foster care system. Technology is a struggle to acquire and maintain. And I’m kind of getting old, you know? I have to learn faster than the students using an increasingly inflexible brain.
These are the excuses I fall back on. Many times when I go to workshops, it seems like I am surrounded by successful advisers and I think, “yeah, but they teach in wealthy suburban districts.” Thinking that way is garbage. It’s time for me to stop copping out. I need to approach this like a new runner planning for a marathon. First adopt a schedule and a plan that calls upon the expertise of those who have done what I wish to do. Second, follow the plan zealously, no excuses, no opting out when I’m tired or discouraged. I applied for this workshop for two reason: I want to form a plan and I wish to reignite the fire necessary to follow it.