Pep Talks

One of the things I really enjoy about teaching is giving pep-talks.  I never used to give as many I as do now.  I’ve learned a lot about how the mental game can help you progress or hold you back.  For me it is in the gym, but that’s not the first hard thing I’ve done.  It’s easy to connect that to their lives in school.  And many of my students who play sports identify with what I’m doing as a bodybuilder.  I try to make the connection that doing “hard stuff” in any part of our lives is a challenge, but once you learn how to succeed, it translates to other things.  It’s not just about math (they are learning some hard stuff – trigonometry, precalculus and calculus), but how learning to overcome an obstacle now will help them in life later.

Students tell me that they like the pep talks.  I suspect they really like the time not taking notes or doing problems.  That’s cool.  It works for me.  They still hear it.  I try not to abuse it.  But there are key times when a good pep talk is needed…

  • before a hard quiz
  • after a hard quiz
  • when grades come out
  • when no one wants to work because it’s a Monday, a Friday, or a Wednesday.  For some reason, Tuesdays and Thursdays seem to be good days to learn math.
  • it’s a senior class in second semester – sometimes they need a pep talk every day

I am grateful to have the opportunity to think about how to motivate kids.  I suspect that’s because I need pep talks, too.  Lately, I feel like I need a bunch.

I can’t lie – competing is fun, but I’m not motivated by it right now since it’s not happening again until summer 2015.  I LOVE training.  I want to be a good lifter.  I want to improve technique and I want to build more muscle.  Changes at this point are not dramatic.  Growth comes in grams,  not pounds.  I am very slowly and methodically working on my body composition so that when I start the next prep, it will be easier.  (Although, the last two weren’t really that bad.  Doc is happy with my blood work and thyroid looks good.  I want to keep it that way.)   I have to be consistent and patient.  I also need to keep working on sleep, recovery, and stress management.

What really keeps me going is the process.  I love the science of self-discovery.  I love looking for connections between training, nutrition, sleep, stress, and what my body does under certain conditions.  It’s all so miraculous to this former fat-chick who used to think two plates of nachos with a couple rum and cokes was the best supper ever.  I love that the more I learn, the more questions I have.  I love that every body is different and what works fabulously for one doesn’t work at all for another.  This is just really fun.  I know that lifting isn’t for everyone.  Some like to run, some like to dance – I like to lift.  But I do believe that for us to be happy, we must move.  The body is a biomiracle that functions optimally when the day involves movement.

Rambling!  Sorry.  Hazard of my ‘stream of consciousness’ blogging style.

Back on topic…

This is what I share with my students – that if something is important to you, find a way to do it.  I tell them that I know “math” isn’t everyone’s favorite subject, but getting a good grade in a hard class is possible even if it’s not your favorite subject.  Focus on your process more than short term results because improvement will come if the process is solid.  Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard, right?  

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1 Comment

Filed under Competing, Life, Motivation, Teaching

One response to “Pep Talks

  1. This resonates strongly with me. I am a words and letters kinda gal, and I never got pep talks from any of my math teachers. Bravo for inspiring them when the the numbers get tough. Maybe I’ll hit you up when my numbers get tough at tax time 🙂

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