One of my goals with my #OneWord 2021 "Bloom" is to "Bloom in strength." With this in mind, I decided to take on a challenge that I saw on Twitter. Teachers on Fire Podcast (@TeachersOnFire) called out to educators to compete in the 10,000 push-ups challenge. While 10,000 push-ups may sound daunting, it actually comes to an average of 28 push-ups a day. This might actually be doable.
But why does it have to be push-ups?
I have always struggled with this common exercise. I remember when my cross country coach was determined to get me to do 10 push-ups without stopping. He transitioned me from wall push-ups to bench push-ups, before he thought I was ready for the floor. I always hated the idea of trying to lift my body with my scrawny little arms!
Let's think about a push-up for a bit. It takes a body part that you know is valuable but many times take for granted, and forces that body part to hold your body weight, lower it and then lift it again. Unless you work out and train that muscle regularly, the ability to lower yourself to the ground from the plank position is just not there, neither is the ability to push your body weight back up again. Yet the more you do push-ups, the stronger your arm muscles get and the easier it becomes to achieve.
For some reason this made me think of the teaching situation currently. I feel that in March, teachers were thrown into a push-up position. They were forced to rely on the tech that they might have known was important yet taken for granted. For some teachers, the lowering and lifting that needed to take place was easy. There were some, however, that were panicked in the plank position and are just now getting a few reps in, showing their ability to lift their practice.
It is only the first month of the 10,000 push-up challenge, but I can feel my body getting stronger. At this point, I have accumulated 484 push-ups. Although I have missed 2 days that this point, I am proud of my ability to recover those missing reps. My speed has increased and my arms are not as sore afterward.
I feel the same pride for the teachers around me, who use the tech at their fingertips to not only plank, but to push up. I know that this is all new, I know that tech might not be your jam, but just PUSH UP.
The more you create those breakout rooms or project websites... You will get stronger!
The more make those engaging lessons or have discussions on tools such as Flipgrid or Parlay... You will get stronger!
The more you adapt your classroom to fit not just the world today but your students as well... You will get stronger!
A plank may work the arms and ab muscles, but the strength can really be tested when you decide to PUSH-UP!
There is another key part of this push-up challenge. Each night when I put my number in, I can see others who are right there with me in this climb. I can travel to Twitter and see posts of encouragement. This has been so important for me. I don't feel alone in this. I have a team behind me.
The same can be said on the educational front. There has been so much shared lately to help teachers navigate all this. You are not alone in this either, you have training partners who are fighting with you to lower from that plank. One of my favorites is "Thrive O'Clock" with Melody McAllister and Rachelle Dené Poth. They are so uplifting and real and bring a smile to my face on both Mondays and Fridays.
Once you have found your "training partners" in this new teaching territory, I encourage you to not only absorb the training tips but also share as well. There is a teacher right now who is in that edu-plank and struggling to just get through. They need you! They need your ideas. I think teachers need teachers more than ever right now. We need to lean on each other. We also need to know that others are feeling what we are.