04 December 2012

What I Learned from Sam Gordon, the 9 Yr Old Girl Football Phenom

This girl is great!

Unfortunately, as she gets older, she'll face increasing gender discrimination and/or decreased physical advantage. Will she keep playing? There are too many variables at hand to answer that question, but we can take some lessons from Sam (and her family).

1. "Don't tell me what I can't do." 

For Sam, I'm sure there's a long line of people waiting to tell her she can't play football with the boys. What's yours? Budget constraints? Troubleshooting hardware? Feeling stuck instructionally or with reaching a student?

2. Do what you love.

Having passion for a project keeps more on task longer, helps me persevere through obstacles, helps me return when I'm discouraged, and allows me to set priorities for my time and efforts.

I had an awful PD session last week - most everyone had to share a computer, of people that were logged on, half couldn't get Google to communicate with them, my document on the presenting machine froze too... an impossible setting for a "how-to" session, and a difficult session for even familiarisation. Most of the environment was out of my control, my response wasn't, but I'll regroup for next time around because I know I want to help my building toward positive, meaningful attitudes toward our district technology.

3. Have a plan and make it yours.

The reality of Sam's football career is that it may at best end in a female semi-pro league after high school. She'll have to decide what to do next. I think many veteran teachers get stuck in what we do because its easier to keep the blinders on the present and what we currently do instructionally or with technology, while ignoring what's on the horizon. When that next disruptor comes, they choose to ignore it in favor of what they're comfortable with. People who don't plan get left behind and irrelevant.

4. Be awesome.

Sam obviously has a gift of athleticism, but its about more than that. With all the talent in the world, Sam still needs an attitude (and will need it even more as she gets older) that risk is not something to be avoided, but rather, embraced. 

You're not a great teacher because you have a ton of content knowledge, or show up every day and do the expected. You're great because you do extra research, are willing to try new things, and will put yourself out there in hopes of acheiving something great.

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Thanks for sharing!