Pursuing Your Passions in Your Career

A few weeks ago, I attended a workshop hosted by the Central Arizona Writing Project (CAWP) at Arizona State University. The workshop, “Tools for Teacher Researchers” featured scholar Ruth Shagoury from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.  Ruth is a huge supporter of teachers and teacher expertise, spending much of her time in classrooms learning from teachers as they work together in inquiry work, moving their practice forward and positively impacting the lives of children.  She has published several books and research articles including the seminal texts, “The Art of Classroom Inquiry” and “Living the Questions,” which are both used in college courses and  teacher researchers. These books are useful guides that lay a foundation of support for college students and classroom teachers as they navigate the sometimes messy, yet uplifting and transformative work of teacher research.



Ruth’s interactive workshop provided each of us with ideas and tools for beginning to reflectively think about our practice and think like teacher researchers. She provided concrete examples of classroom research that is being implemented in classes with a range of learners. We discussed framing questions, collecting data, the importance of kidwatching, and paying attention to the successes and tensions in our classrooms that are all part of the inquiry process.

One of the most important ideas that I gleaned from this workshop was creating a career for yourself where you get to do the things that you love. Ruth has had a tremendous career, and continues to learn and grow each day with the teachers who she has the opportunity to work with. Upon graduation, even before, this is the work, which I wish to do. I wish to continue to work side by side students and teachers in their learning communities, growing and learning from them, and keeping myself embedded in the work of the classroom.

A Surprising Recognition: Liebster Blog Award


Hip, Hip, Hooray!

In August I started my doctorate and at the same time started journaling about my experience in this new space. My journaling, my musings, are my opportunity to document my special journey from student to scholar and the people and moments that inspire me along the way.
Since August, my musings were between my computer and me. However, after talking to my sister who also has a blog, I decided it was time to make my musings public. I thought this would be the perfect way to share my journey with friends and family near and far, and hopefully to connect with others, as I’m learning it takes a village to raise a doc student.

On January 13, I launched my blog. Just three weeks later, I received notice that I am being recognized by my fellow blogger We Run for Cupcakes (http://werunforcupcakes.wordpress.com/) for the Liebster award.

Stay tuned for my answers to the 11 questions We Run for Cupcakes sent me—they are very thought provoking.

Plus, my nominees.

Meet Me at the Finish Line

The marathon. The long run. A run that constantly challenges mind, body and soul. Training started in July. I trained with an advanced training program. This program is geared toward runners who have one or more half marathons or marathons under their belt. It entails an increase in daily and weekly mileage, strength and core training, speed training, explosive routines and additional team practices, aside from the Saturday morning long run. This program, along with the runners who were involved, helped me to improve my running, motivating me to set tougher goals and stick to a stricter running schedule.

Entering the week of the marathon, which also happened to be the first week of classes, I was able to run a few short runs to keep my muscles loose and keep my mind alive for the race. On the eve of the race, I went to the expo to pick up my running SWAG, including bib and shirt, while envisioning myself completing the race strong and quick.

Race morning. Confident. Alive. Motivated. Envisioning a 4:15 finish, my quickest yet. Entered the shoot with my husband. Hung back behind the 4:15 pacer, then at mile 2, continued my pace at 9:30, 15 seconds faster than the pacer I had left. A strong, comfortable pace. Hitting mile 16, the mental monsters entered my brain. Pushing them away, they keep coming back. At this moment I see the 4:15 pacer group pass and wilt.

Rounding mile 20, the smiling faces of my family in the distance, putting a little hop in my trot. Approach my support network, smile, wave, and continue on to the last 5 miles. Bam! The monsters take over my head. I’m off my target time, not tired, just feeling down. Done.

My trot begins to slow. I find myself stopping at water stations. Drinking more water because I suddenly feel dehydrated. Imagining a pain in my right quad. Down. Literally, my body goes down to a half fall to the ground. Other runners offer words of encouragement and support.

Why am I down?

I am ready for this day. I am at my strongest. I am a runner.

I slowly get up and continue, the last four miles in sight. The miles should seem easy, but my mind is making them long, ultra long.

Entering mile 24, I regain focus and pick up my pace. This is enough for me to happily make it to the final stretch, the .2 part of my journey. The crowd is larger. My support network has found a place along the sidelines, cheering me on. Finally, I cross the finish line of my journey that tested my mind and body, with me feeling as if I failed at some parts. Failing at times during the race, but picking myself up, literally picking myself up, and continuing to the finish.

I may not have finished in my goal time, but I did achieve a huge goal. That goal: completing my 4th marathon and that is all that matters.