Monday, March 26, 2012

The Personal Trainer and Teacher Connection

Wendy, an amazing teacher, and I just trained with Dan, our exercise physiologist...well, he trained us.  I have noticed that Wendy and I are usually nursing various injuries which alter the exercises Dan has us complete (disclaimer: not due to training).  I have also noticed that he always has her do more “pushups” than me, regardless of the variation as they’re never typical push ups.  (I do get a little jealous.)  Nonetheless, I consistently lift more weight with my quadriceps than her. Over the past seven years, I have had several different workout partners while training with Dan; it just occurred to me today, that to be an effective personal trainer, one must treat each client differently.  Dan has to juggle all of our “issues” and I’m quite impressed with his differentiated method. I see that his clients have various:

  • goals
  • injuries
  • strength abilities
  • strength deficiencies
  • interests (exercises they love and/or detest)
  • workout partner preferences
    • many have favorite and least favorite workout partners
    • others want to workout with many partners (they think they won’t have to work as “hard," which they soon realize that is not the case)
    • some prefer to workout alone (they want a more "strenuous" workout and/or want a private therapy session-j/k)

I believe that the most effective exercise physiologists execute exercise plans that are unique, applicable and motivating for each client; while the most effective teachers create learning plans that are also unique, applicable and motivating for each student.  In addition, the most effective trainers believe in their clients' success, as the most effective teachers believe in their students' success. I’m wondering why it took me seven years to discover this connection as I see it so clearly now.  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Learning is Changing; Let's Put Students First

I have been hitting the slopes in Whistler, British Columbia for the last seven consecutive days.  (My legs are killing me.)  During my time spent on ski lifts, as well as some other establishments, I've enjoyed the opportunity to to discuss education with some native Canadians.  It's been fun comparing and contrasting education in Canada to the United States.  It turns out both countries have similar problems although Canada doesn't seem to be so detrimentally reliant on standardized tests, for which I'm envious.

For the past week I have also heard many pro-education commercials made by the British Columbia Teachers' Federation who are enduring a difficult contract battle.  Teachers are actually going on strike next week; school is cancelled for three's that bad.  A mantra they use, "Learning is changing; let's put students first" has struck me every time I have heard it.

I agree with both statements.  Unfortunately, I constantly see resistance to the changes in learning.  I know change is scary, but it is not always bad.  Actually, I believe these changes in learning (i.e. passion based learning while utilizing technology) are extremely positive....they give me hope and have revived my passion for education.

Students are not coming first and this frustrates me.  Tradition, building structures, administration, teachers, staff members, parents, taxpayers and politicians... all are coming before the students.  How infuriating!

How can we work together to achieve the common belief that in order to put students first, we must understand that learning IS changing, and THAT is a good thing?

*Big sigh*