Self Assessment Time

As a teacher, a coach, and a parent I often challenge people to do a little self assessment of their goals and progress.  Today (okay I really started this 2 weeks ago) seems like as good a time as any for me to commit a bit of time to some self assessment on my exercise plan, my blog, and my photography.  Some reflection on our learning. As often happens, self assessment isn’t all sunshine and glory, but that’s okay because that kind of learning is just as important.

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First off, my exercise plan is going just about as well as it did last year.  If you know me then you know this isn’t a good thing.  I have not been running nearly as much as I had hoped.  In fact I just about to restart the 5k plan I started 5 weeks ago because the first week and a half of May were complete write-offs.  Sure I walk the dog multiple times every day, and I walk around my school and community as much as possible.  No I don’t have a pedometer for my walks around school, but I do track my dog walks.  As always, I do have grand plans, but somehow being a parent and husband keep getting in my way — yes I know I am supposed to make time to exercise, but I have not started scheduling it into my day like Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) suggests in her blog.  Oh to be like Vicki!  But really this is okay.  I must have been getting enough exercise since I managed to get through the winter maintaining my weight for a change.  Anyway, the snow is finally gone, the weather is warmer and dryer, and I still have a good plan to get more exercise into my life.  My brother-in-law is once again pushing me to be more active.  This year he says I need to try a duathlon with him.  So it looks like I might be giving it a try.  Who doesn’t want to run 2k, bike 20k, and then just for kicks run another 5k?  I will let you know how this goes, or if I even have the nerve to try.

After a torrid start to blogging this year, the blog also slipped by the wayside.  The only person to blame is me as I didn’t give myself the 15 minutes a day I should have dedicated to just writing as suggested by Steven Downes a few years ago. There were many days when I could have, but I just didn’t.  Sure I can blame work and my coaching schedule, but the reality is I just didn’t make the time for writing.   When people learn I taught English, they assume I was or am also a writer.  Nope. Not ever.  I didn’t teach English because I like to write.  I taught English because I like to read and talk about books and other media forms.  To actually commit to writing a blog has actually been a challenge for me.  A challenge that I enjoy, but one which I need to make a greater effort with.

When I started taking pictures last century, I had a Polaroid, a little 110 mm point-and-shoot, and then an SLR.  I learned to take pictures and develop them as well.  I had to be careful about what I shot because I only had 24 exposures available.  I really loved photography.  The pictures I took made great gifts for family and friends.  Some of them are still on display in people’s homes.  Then life kind of got in the way, and I put photography aside.  Sure my wife and I have had a few smaller point-and-shoot cameras, both film and digital, over the years, but we didn’t seem to do too much with pictures we took.  When I turned 40, my wife bought me a Nikon DX-40 — my first DSLR — and I was thrilled.  To be back in the land of real cameras was awesome.  Except that I had almost forgotten how to take a picture with a camera that wasn’t using an AUTO feature.  EEEKK!  One the interesting things about the advancements in phone technology is that almost everybody now has a camera in their pocket.  Sure that’s a great thing, but there is a science and an art to taking a picture that is lost when all you have to do is point and shoot.  I have continued to experiment with my camera in different settings, using different settings, and getting varied results.  That’s okay.  I just want to keep taking pictures and doing something with the photos.  Much like Peter Reynolds books Dot and ish, I am learning to accept that what images I take are picture-ish, and art-ish.  Also, I have found an audience who appreciates my attempts at photo art-ish.  My daughter wants me to print some of the pictures for her room.

As with all good reflection on learning, there needs to be some next steps, some planning for improvement.  So as summer approaches, I am going to try to write more.  Or at least post more things to this blog more regularly, whether it be the ongoing journey of my efforts to become a fit human in the last few years of my 40’s, or some of the pictures that I take and then usually do nothing with.

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