What are you waiting for?


These aren’t just well-loved running shoes. These are my first pair of running shoes. I keep them as a reminder.

How many times as educators, do we say, “I wish…”

I wish I had more time.

I wish I could teach that.

I wish I knew how to do that.

I wish I taught a different grade level.

I wish I had more resources.

I wish I could design the coolest experience for my kiddoes.

I wish I could change my room around.

I wish things were different.

My running shoes represent how, sometimes, we just have to go for it.

We just have to take that first step.

That’s what running was for me. It’s been over six years since I decided to become a runner. (Even though it’s been six years, I still use the phrase, “I’m a runner” loosely. You see, I’m so slow, some might even wonder if I am, in fact, running.)

I digress.

Do you ever think of something that might be a little offbeat? Or have you had an idea that you know is going to be met with resistance? Or is there something in your wheelhouse that you want to do but you think it is just out of reach for some reason?

That was me with running.

I clearly remember the reaction when I told my family that I wanted to be fitted for proper running shoes and was going to start running 5K races. After the alien looks ceased and the belly laughter subsided, the look on my face proved I was serious.

The very next day I was on a treadmill having my step and gait analyzed.

The question I was presented with, “Why on earth do you want to run?” is vaguely like the questions those of us in education are often faced with when we want to take an innovative leap or do something unconventional.

Don’t we have naysayers in our schools saying things like,

“That’s never going to work.”

“We don’t to things like that here.”

“Why do something new when what we’ve done has always worked?”

(The worst, right?)

But the doubting audience didn’t matter. I knew all I had to do was take my first step. Although I wasn’t confident, I knew I could take that step without help, without encouragement and without collaboration.

And it won’t matter for you either.

Ask yourself, what have you been waiting, wishing or wanting to do for your learners or for yourself, professionally?

Commit to taking that first step, whatever it may be.

The results will invigorate you, challenge you, validate you and CHANGE you. I promise.

(And, be prepared for your first step to create a movement!  How do I know this? My entire family adopted running. My own kids even ran Cross Country for their respective high schools!)

What’s holding you back?

For me? It was worry, self-consciousness, lack of knowledge, doing it alone, not knowing if I was going to stick with it (and of course the notion that I had never run a distance in my LIFE!)

Aren’t those some of the same things that hold us back from taking that leap of faith with our teaching?

We have to find the spirit to take the first step despite the things that hold us back. Whether these things are self-inflicted or part of the context in which we teach.

We have to be daring.

The first step is what allows the invisible to become visible.

So what are you waiting for?

What’s your first step going to be?  

Author: Dr. Valerie King

Quirky thinker. Joyful teacher. Perpetual learner. For the Kids.

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