Thursday, April 7, 2011

Living in the Know

Today was a day of outdoor activities; of course every day is an outdoor activity when you are in open air classrooms.  I went for a 30 minute walk with Leche.  We wanted to get some fresh air and snap some pictures of the city.  It was mid to late afternoon so the lighting was good for a few shots of the city.  When I came back I decided to go for a short two mile run on the path I ran about a week ago.  Last time, I was turned around by a river that I was unable to cross.  We haven’t gotten any rain in the past two weeks, so the river dried up enough that a path of rocks created a crossing.  When I reached the river that would have given me a two mile run I decided to keep going.  I went for another mile in the beautiful countryside and turned around.  I was running toward a big, red sunset on the way out and darkness was clipping my heels on the way back.  What a beautiful path… 

I have found that my path to success is quantifying and documenting my progress—write, record, translate, calculate, outline, inscribe, just put pen to paper.  My work day ends at 12:35 pm.    If I wanted to, I could probably go to school each day and put in 4 hours of teaching whatever came to my head and then check out.  Though, the most important part about teaching is planning.  There is a correlation between the amount of planning I put in and the way my kids respond to my lecture.  Professional destiny is in my own hands and the kid’s education is in my hands as well—this is a scary thing.  I previously wrote in my blog, “Way may lead on to way and it may seem like you can’t steer.  But you can, and if you choose a hard path, make your path green with attitude and observation.  Be the path you seek and you will never have to choose.”  More often than not, I look back at my writing and find it irrelevant to my present experience.  This is one that remains true.  I have learned that in order to be successful at my job, it is a constant effort without any breaks.  I have established a routine and I stick to it.  I observe my actions and record them.  I have written down every single thing I have done in the classroom both good and bad.  I observe my attitude constantly making sure I don’t take breaks or tell myself I will do something later—when you tell yourself you’ll do something later, it won’t get done—at least not in the appropriate amount of time.  I have established a strict budget in excel to save money and live within my means on a Honduran salary.  I have saved every worksheet, every exercise, and every lecture I have ever given my students along with a description of the activity.  I have kept a log of every workout I have done in the past year.  I write down each new Spanish word I encounter during the day.  I am blogging to capture my sentiments regarding my life abroad.  I am recording everything but the amount of steps I take a day.  I find that when I record and take note of my progress I feel more in control.  I used to live by the seat of my pants refusing to pay attention to numbers, grades, or the consequences of my actions because I was afraid of the pattern I might see—afraid to take a shot and evaluate my talents.  But being in the know is much easier than ignorance.  It takes a lot of work to be the path you seek.  One common trend I have observed in the successful people I know is that they are “list people”.  They make lists of things they need to do—they are always planning and crossing things off—quantifying their progress.  In any given moment they know where they stand—that way there are no unwelcome surprises.  When you live in the know, the only surprises are welcome reminders of how well your system is working.         

1 comment:

  1. Wow Patrick, that's what they try to teach in education classes, constantly evaluating your own lessons and their effectiveness, tweaking them where necessary. And you are doing it in all aspects of your life. Remember how Kicking Bird tells Dances with Wolves he is on a good trail? That is you, Patrick, it's good to see you on such a good trail.