General Military training
I was in the Naval Reserve for 20 years (I could probably write a book just on my navy experiences). During my G.M.T. (General Military Training) we were required to run 1.5 miles each morning starting at 0600. My running buddy was Gord Edwards and we remain friends to this day. I would like to send a shout-out to Gord. He said something to me in 1978 that made a profound difference in my life and my teaching career. The conversation went like this:
“Gord, we’ve been doing this run for several weeks now. It has become quite easy. You would think that they would require us to either run further or faster; you know, to increase our fitness level.”
“Do you honestly believe that?” Gord asked.
“Sure. As long as we meet the minimum standard they are happy, but why not set the bar higher? It would increase our fitness. Doesn’t that make sense?”
“If you really believe that then why are waiting for someone to tell you?”
It was like someone hit me with a shovel. I suddenly realized that I could, and should, set my own standards; particularly, if I felt they should be higher.
“Gord, that makes complete sense. Why wait for my boss to tell me to work at a higher level if I believe I should be doing so. From now on, I am going to try to run the course a little faster each morning. Are you with me?”
“No?. Don’t you believe in setting the standard higher?”
“Not when it comes to running. I am OK with the minimum.”
That was the last morning I ran with Gord, but his advice echoed throughout my carer. I didn’t ask myself, “What is the minimum expected of me?” I asked the question, “What would I want from the teachers of my own children?”. That was a much higher standard.
Grade 3 student, “Are you
calling me a liar?”
“I like to think of it as you
offering a suspension of disbelief;
but, if Liar, Liar Pants on Fire
works for you then let’s go with that.” – gc
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