Tag Archives: spelling

What I am Learning

In July I decided to tryout for a musical. My oldest son has been in musicals and plays since fourth grade. My two middle girls have done junior shows the last two summers. I just got a crazy idea to audition for our local community theater. To do something outside my comfort zone this year. So I auditioned for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

And I got a part… Vice-Principal Douglas Panch. Opening night is September 13. I am excited.  I have learned a few things by stepping out of my comfort zone that I would like to share.

Opportunities are there

Sometimes our lives feel so scripted. The routine sets our pace. The days fade together. But there are so many ways to step out of that. I decided to audition for a musical. You can take a class, volunteer, or join a club. There are so many different opportunities in our life to learn something new, develop our skills, ignite a passion for a new hobby. We just have to step out of our comfort zone to get involved.

Getting Feedback is Uncomfortable

As an educator and a coach I know this. I try to keep this idea in mind when I talk with an athlete or student. Instead of giving the feedback, I am receiving it… and it is tough at times. The director knows that I am a rookie, but he is holding me to the same standard as the other actors. I enjoy being held to a high standard, but it means I get a lot of feedback on how I can improve me lines, my dancing, and other aspects of developing my character. Feedback is an important aspect of growing as an actor, as it is for a student, or an athlete. And growth is uncomfortable. It has to be for us to realize our potential.

It is Fun

Even with the stress and struggle, being involved in this musical is fun. I am excited for opening night. I am excited for my family to see me on stage. Being involved is fun.

Confidence

Being involved in something, working on a skill or learning something new builds your confidence. As a coach, I try to define confidence for my athletes as “trusting the work they put into their practice and preparation.” That holds true for me as I practice my lines and memorize the blocking for different sections. I feel more confident as I am able to deliver my lines off book, as I complete the correct steps during a song. By learning to do something outside my comfort zone, I am learning that I am capable of more than I knew. That confidence filters into other parts of my life.

Deciding to audition for a musical was outside my comfort zone. It has been a great experience. I suggest you take the opportunity to find an opportunity to do the same… you won’t regret it.

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Filed under Life

Are You Ready?

For all the hours I’ve spent on the road, all the years living in Nebraska and Wyoming, I have never hit a deer or an antelope.  I have had a number of other car accidents, but I’ve always spotted the deer while driving before anything bad could happen. Until this morning…

Right now, it is completely dark for most of my commute.  This morning the moon accompanied me on my drive. I was in between Doniphan and the interstate (as the picture below shows).  Things were going fine, music on, cruise set, and I was checking traffic to decide when to go into the left lane so I could merge onto the interstate.  I just crossed the bridge when the deer appeared.

Image from Google Maps

I was still in the right lane when the deer appeared on the passenger side, just in the fading part of the headlights. Both of us were caught in that eternal second. Because of the light the deer looked like a ghost, faded, almost transparent.  I could see his head snap back and his black eyes widen.  I swear his expression was, “What the….”

I did nothing. Which was the best thing. The deer and I caught up with time. It seemed my car lurched forward to do it, getting ahead of the deer to miss him.  I looked into my review mirror but could not see if he crossed the road or not.

No matter how much we try, we cannot control Life.  We have control of our attitude, or work ethic, and our smile.  But Life, it is like a box of Ping-Pong balls dumped out on a concrete floor.  We will get knocked around, sometimes drastically.  This got me thinking about dictionaries…

As an English teacher I forever get the question, “How do you spell that?”  I would always respond with directions to the bookshelf where the dictionaries sat waiting to be opened.  Even when my students had computers I would get that question.  At a time when answers are sometimes just a click away, why did my students still ask that question?

I think part of the shift we are experiencing, in school and our own lives, must include the ability to react (or know when not to in my case) to Life.  That is a grand statement, but I’m not sure I have had a whole day where something didn’t go wrong.  Where a Ping-Pong ball didn’t knock something off track.  Or a deer run out in front of you.  Are you prepared to react, to adapt?  Are students prepared?

Courtesy of Flickr user Lester Public Library

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Filed under Education, Life