Thoughts, links & ideas from the 2008 National Teacher of the Year

Each time I've taken off in a plane since May (which is a lot), I've been writing in my journal, then adding these journal entries on this blog.

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(Note: the blue posted dates are actually the dates I wrote the journal entries, not when I posted them online.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Schmuck and the Streakers

Salt Lake City, UT


Okay, now I’m feeling like a schmuck.  A lazy schmuck.  Jen and I are on our way to New Jersey for the final gathering of all the state teachers of the year, and we get to be on the same flight as Hal Adams (Utah) and Steve Gardiner (Montana).


Steve was just telling us about how he wanted to challenge he cross-country athletes to run every day – what he called “consecutive days” (others call it a “streak,” although streaking is something entirely different in my mind.)  So, like good teachers do, he tried it himself.  After a summer of 100 consecutive days running for at least half an hour, he got his athletes started.  Some went 50, some made it 100, one girl went 360, and another went over 600 straight days.


One young man clocked over 1000 consecutive days of running during his high school career, and would occasionally e-mail Steve with updates from college: “Hey coach, 1124.  –Dave”


He injured himself, though, and broke his consecutive days streak.  When he saw Steve, he disappointedly told him about it.  “But… I’m at 122 now.”  He had started over!  That’s strength of character, commitment, dedication.


Steve is currently at 3000+ consecutive days of aerobic workout (he modified it slightly to account for things like pulling a pack sled for 8 hours and then camping on a glacier in northern Greenland.  Tough to go jogging in those conditions.)  He’s an incredible guy.


Hal (from Utah) was the first person to suggest that I keep a journal this year.  I’m not really a journaler, or much of a writer, but I so appreciate Hal gently challenging me to go for it.  I decided to write each time I got on a plane.  It would be a good use of my time, and for some reason I feel contemplative and more creative as I ascend into the air.


So how many consecutive flights have I journaled now?  20? 40? 60?  Actually, I’m at one.  I’ve been slacking off.  Sometimes I’m just not sure what to write about, but that’s a pretty lame excuse.  I just need to write.


As for exercise… that’s a whole ‘nuther story this year.  I’m a double schmuck.


[Editor’s note: The word “schmuck” has 6 consonants and only 1 vowel!  Crazy!  Are there any other (non-Russian) words like that?!]


[Editor’s 2nd note:  Just got word that Steve’s cross-country team won it’s sixth straight city championship, and also took 2nd in the state meet!  Great job, Steve and his athletes!]


  1. Hey, Coach -- I'm really enjoying the osteoarthritis in my spine and my double knee replacements at the age of 55. -- Dave

  2. Okay, just because your name is Dave and you happen to be a medical doctor...

    But yeah, I tend to prefer biking for that very reason.


Feel free to question, disagree, challenge, or make suggestions! I'm a big boy. I can take it.