It's Better to Feel Uncomfortable Pushing for Better than Feel Uncomfortable Settling for Less- May 6, 2019

This week's blog was inspired by a Twitter post shared by @TechyMargaret. As I read this quote, it rang so true to me, especially after this past weekend. This week, I "pushed for better" each day but in two very different ways. Saturday, I "pushed for better" professionally and Sunday, I "pushed for better" personally. Both experiences initially took me out of my comfort zones, but after both experiences, I am so happy I persevered and encourage others to take that leap and "push for better"

Saturday, May 4th: EdCamp NoVa

Yes, I know it is silly- but even as an adult who works with adults and kids every day- I get overwhelmed when in a new situation when I don't know a lot of people. That was exactly how I felt walking into EdCamp NoVa on Saturday morning. It didn't matter that I went in the fall- I still initially felt "uncomfortable."

If you've never been to an EdCamp, you might have no idea what I am talking about. For the first 45 minutes, people talk, add ideas for sessions and enjoy breakfast as the day is planned. When I looked around, at first, I didn't see anyone I knew. But then, I found someone I had met last time, @MEATRTT and sat at her table. Before I knew it, she had introduced me to her other colleagues and we were all talking.

Then, we were called together. The sessions had been determined and added to the EdCamp NoVa spreadsheet. At EdCamp, you can select the sessions you want to attend and if they aren't meeting your needs, you can feel free to choose another session.

This time, I chose Google Sites, Professional Development for adults and Computer Science in Elementary School. All three sessions were great and I left with plenty of ideas but the Computer Science in Elementary School session left me with the most lasting impression

When we started sharing, I started just away- I only had one thing to share- the site. To be honest, although I want all my students to learn computational thinking, I still get a little overwhelmed by the idea of @scratch. I learned in this group, I was not the only one. Sometimes, our biggest barriers are ourselves and we just need a gentle nudge to get us moving. Well, on Saturday during that session, I met @kathleenfugle and both seeing all the awesome resources in @scratch and hearing her excitement over tools like @scratch and @makeymakey, I was hooked. It is definitely time for me to "push for better" and explore the many great coding resources that were shared.

But more than that, @EdCampNoVa makes me "push for better" in general by exposing me to new perspectives, building my #PLN and experiencing the contagious excitement of passionate educators who are committed to their students. If you've never tried an edcamp, you should...even if it initially feels "uncomfortable."

Sunday, May 5, 2019: National Women's Half Marathon

Why would anyone voluntarily run a half marathon in the pouring rain? That was the first thought that crossed my mind early Sunday morning. After training for 12 weeks for my second half marathon, it was here and Mother Nature definitely wasn't cooperating with my ideal of a race day morning. It would have been so easy to "settle for less," but with the encouragement of my Sunday morning running friends, I decided to "push for better."

I had a goal- I wanted to run at an easy pace for all 13.1 miles- I believed I could do it. In my training, I had run 2 hours continuously- I could run longer than that...couldn't I? Despite the rain, I started out great- miles 1-8 went by and I felt great. But as I approached the Mile 9 marker, it started to pour. My body started to shout out- "What are you thinking?" I looked at my watch- I had run exactly 2 hours so far- the rain was making my skin irritated and by this point, my feet were hurting. I then realized that I had never run 2 hours in the rain before during a half marathon.

I could have settled at that point to walk the remaining 4.1 miles, but I didn't. I refueled and decided to run/walk the remaining miles. Was it uncomfortable? Yes- But as I hit the 13 mile marker and sprinted to the finish line, I was so proud of myself. Although I didn't PR and beat my previous time of 2 hrs and 24 min from last year, I ran my first half marathon in the rain in 2 hrs and 55 min and ran 9 miles continuously!

Am I saying that everyone should run a half marathon in the rain? Absolutely not! But think of it as an allegory- try something you already do in a new way.."Push for better" using a tool in a new way or for a new use. It might not always be a huge success, but think about how that "push for better" can influence both you and your students.