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This Teacher’s Self-Care Practice Led Him to the Colorado Trail

Andy is a high school biology teacher who spent last summer on an epic mountain biking trip on the Colorado Trail. To fulfill his calling to be a teacher, he knows the importance of renewing himself outside of the classroom, too.

Video Transcript

Andy: As teachers, but as anyone in any job that requires you to devote yourself to it, you need to be well-balanced. That’s something that I think often falls by the wayside. If we don’t take the time to renew ourselves, we’re not going to continue to be able to put energy into those careers.

Andy is a high school biology teacher. He bikes to work every day.

Andy: A camel has several different features that makes it able to survive better in the desert. The furry ears are going to help protect against the sand. This is pretty steep up this way, and curves, and curves in a little bit more, like that.

Student 1: Dang, skills.

Andy: Thanks.

Student 2: And do we have to have all straight lines?

Andy: Yes, you do.

The body’s there on the outside. The egg perimeter is the very outside of that circle, okay? For the Day Six and Day Eight embryos, you’re looking for these things. Eyes up here real quick for me, please. I want to make sure you get this.

Questions? If you have them later, let me know. Stereo microscopes. The embryos are there on the far side. Go and grab those things. Here we go.

A friend of mine and I, we were both about to turn 30. We knew we were entering into a period where there were going to be some life changes happening, so we wanted to do something that was going to cap off this young adult experience, but at the same time, be something we could look back on 30 years from now.

Andy biked the Colorado Trail. A 13-day trek.

Andy: 550ish miles, 80% is dirt, mostly single track. The average elevation is over 10,000 feet.

While I didn’t walk away from it with a whole new unit of lesson plans, I did walk away with another part of my life that’s very important to me being renewed.

Oh, yeah. I still get nervous before most of my classes. The anxiety has gotten less since I’ve taught more, but I think some of my initial fears were, “No one’s going to listen to me. They’re going to stand on desks. They’re going to throw things around, and then I’m going to get fired.” Then, you realize that you can’t plan everything, because you have to be ready to respond to stuff.

That’s real good. This is okay. That’s going to hurt.

Andy’s friend: It’s going to be bad.

Andy: You’re only here the times you come here.

Oh, my God. Wow.

The Colorado Trail, for me, is figuring out, “What do I really want to do, and how do I get there?” I think that’s something that a lot of our students need to start doing more for themselves.

I had so many different role models that had been guides for me. Teachers, members of the church that I went to. I want to at least try to be that kind of a role model for someone else.

Did it hatch?

Student 3: It did.

Andy: There you go. This will be the last day. Well—

Student 4: What day?

Student 5: What?

Andy: No, no. Sorry. We’re going to look at them again. The last day that you’re going to have to draw anything.

Student 6: Oh, that’s a plus.

Andy: We’re going to keep observing them. That’s okay.

You guys have a great day.

Be present. [Church bells.]

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