Today was one of our “Leader in Me” trips.

In the past, these were called “Tigerhawk Reward” trips, trips to celebrate the good things done during school. They gave students a bit of a break and gave teachers a chance to build relationships in a different arena.


This year, we are working harder to celebrate those relationships through Leader in Me. Today, our trip was up to our local workout area. When I say “workout” it’s much more than that. It’s a huge frame, covered in a plastic/canvas material, where people can come and work out. Kids can play basketball, hit/pitch in the batting cage, play soccer, play flag football, throw baseball/softball, do various track activities, or like we did today, do them all! It was built by our old cross country coach to be “the best multi-sport training facility in Iowa” and I think he could pull it off. He’s a bit eccentric, but there is a definite genius in his madness. He’s coached Division I athletes from his limestone track, produced three cross country titles in four years, and is just an all around encyclopedia of knowledge.

Now, I’ve never been there, so I walked in, he was all ready talking to students about the need to be multifaceted, both with sports and in life. I love his talks because they always center around sports, but mean so much more. After he had his say, the kids ran everywhere! We had students playing soccer, basketball, doing hurdles, racing, lifting weights, throwing footballs/baseballs/softballs, and playing on the high jump mats. Kids who say “I hate sports” were all over the place! I played basketball, then went to soccer, then sat, then back to basketball. Each place I went, the kids said, “Why didn’t we do this sooner??”


Two things I took away from this:

  1. Kids who don’t like to move around much, haven’t found the right thing to move too! Like I said, everyone was “doing” something. That part of this, I loved!
  2. Kids just want to be seen, noticed, and acknowledged. I played basketball against the usual suspects, the cocky, “I can beat you old man” kind of kids, who quickly realized that their teacher wasn’t as old as they thought. I also played against a couple of boys who really hadn’t every played basketball, so I coached them as we played, and just enjoyed that time.
  3. When I stopped just for a bit, there was always a, “Hey, Mr. J/Mrs. K/Mrs. H watch this,” with some kind of athletic (or kind of athletic) feat happening shortly after! Students just want to be seen, they want to feel like what they do or say has meaning. I’m so grateful I teach some place where this happens on a daily basis!

Each place I went to play, the kids said:

“Why didn’t we do this sooner??”

Well, now we know, and now we can plan for this to be a regular trip, especially since we can walk to this place!

Now, I’m going to go home, shower, and hope I can move tomorrow morning! I may have overdone it, just a bit! 🙂

I’ll leave you with a little comedy. Someone from my team snapped this. It about sums it up: me flat footed, but doing something I love with students around me! 🙂