Teaching... It's Like Riding A Bike...
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. " -Albert Einstein
Ahhhhhhh, summer. Time for sunshine, ice cream, and being active outside.
When I was 5, I remember my dad teaching me to ride a bike in my grandparents’ driveway. For years after that, I refused to let my parents get rid of that bike because that monumental art of balancing on two wheels was mastered on that purple piece of metal. The feat was all mine and I wanted to keep that memory safe with me always.
The same attitude I had toward that physical possession is how I continue to feel about the art I chose as my career that is teaching. It takes years to learn the ins and outs of, to understand the unwritten rules of, and... can you master it? I don't know, but I can tell you... successful teaching has more in common with riding a bike than I ever thought possible.
This post is all about the idea of learning balance and keeping those lessons we learn early on as teachers close to our hearts. Understanding the lessons we have the opportunity of being taught are ultimately what are either going to keep us going or send us crashing hard.
Here are ways I have found that teaching is like riding a bike and how the lessons we learn can keep us up on two wheels:
It’s all about balance and momentum.
Teaching and being anything else in conjunction is hard, but if you don’t find that balance and keep going when you find it, you’ll crash. It’s guaranteed.
You’d better keep moving on, or you’ll topple over.
You may want to look behind you at a painful teaching memories, but don’t. Keep your eyes forward. Your heart will go where you head does. Move on.
As you grow, so should your ride.
You’re going to grow as a teacher. You’ll get better at some things and become awesome at others. Don’t expect to stay in the same mindset, classroom, building, or role. Things change. Be prepared for it. Get a new bike when you outgrow your old one. It feels nice, once you give into the change.
Kickstands are a must.
Your friends are family are your kickstands. Don’t be afraid to lean on them when a much needed rest is required for your sanity.
When heading downhill, use that momentum to go back up.
Trust me. You’ll need it. Some hills are really steep. Teaching is full of ups and downs. You'll never continue to go down or up. Use these downhills as momentum to get you up those tough climbs. You’ll head back down soon enough.
When you find yourself on unstable ground, take it slow.
It may take you longer to get where you are going, but at least you won’t wreck on that pesky gravel. Sometimes we trick ourselves into thinking that if we just keep plowing ahead, we can get through the tricky times faster and better. Oooph! Nope. I have real-life scars that prove that theory is dead wrong.
Different bikes for different terrain and different goals.
My friends, you can't expect to reach your goals without changing a few things. I mean, you can try, but please take the steps necessary to make those changes the right way, with the correct tools. You'll save yourself a lot of pain and hardship. Not all bikes are made for achieving the same goal. You can make life really hard by trying to ride a road bike on a dirt road.
It’s okay to let go of your first bike. you won’t forget the lessons you learned or the memories you have from it. Share the joy with others.
I remember the day that I finally watched my bike being taken away by another kid. And honestly, I didn't care. I had grown up and had ridden many bikes since then. I was actually happy to watch someone else enjoy it. Teachers, remember this when a new kid wants to ride your old bike. Share it. Share the joy of this new thing with them. Don't hoard it.