As I was driving home one night this week, I passed a bicyclist struggling to pedal his way to the top of a steep incline. I noticed that he began to stand as he pushed one leg down and then the other, slowly moving his bike up the hill. His face showed determination, and his eyes clearly focused on the crest of the hill. Passing him, I wondered what he was telling himself as he inched his way to the top. I was sure he would enjoy the feeling of accomplishment, but I also understood it would be short lived, as a second incline was just up ahead, even more challenging than the one before.
After I arrived home and was sitting on the couch, I began thinking about the parallels between that bicyclist’s assent up the hills, and our work. The work is definitely getting harder. I am noticing as we push ourselves to teach at a more rigorous pace, the stress in the system is increasing. A few voices are beginning to question the wisdom of our strategies. If only I could stand on the sideline of each class every day, cheering on the efforts of the teachers and students. I wonder how we can support each other when the work gets difficult? It’s up to us!
As I think about this bicyclist, I wonder what made him continue to pedal as the hill got more challenging? Some of us would have stopped and walked the rest of the way. What helped him to keep going? How can we help each other to continue to keep going as the work gets more challenging? I worry that some would have us slow down, change course, or even stop. I understand that desire. But I know that if we keep going at it, we can and will be successful. If I could, I would ask that bicyclist what motivated him to keep climbing. Maybe, just maybe, he would have some wisdom to share, that would keep the rest of us moving.