Friday, July 27, 2012

Mental Muscle Memory

Yesterday I went to the gym. I've recently become a Zumbaholic, an addiction that has succeeded in getting me to the gym significantly more frequently than normal, and it's a good thing. What can I say? When reggaeton comes on the radio, I can't sit still.

Unfortunately, after a weekend trip to a friend's wedding and some busy/tired days afterward, I'd  missed 4 Zumba classes in a row. I felt like I was melting into a puddle. So I broke down and went to the gym on a non-Zumba day (inconceivable!!) and lifted weights (not because I actually like it, but hey...gotta stay in shape).

This morning I was thinking about my week, and somehow got confused as to whether I'd worked out Tuesday or Wednesday (anyone else sometimes forget what day it is during the summer?). I lifted my arm and said OUCH! Yep, I did...but the more I work out, the sooner the pain goes away and I get back into my exercise groove.

Then I thought to myself, do our kids ever feel like this? I recently had one of those experiences where I'd taught them a concept and we'd been over it and over it and over it and over it...and yet and still, my assumption that they would definitely know what they were doing was apparently off-base. It's amazing to me how quickly they forget things sometimes. And in those moments where I think to myself, "WHAT? But we've been doing this since September! It's only been three weeks since we last reviewed it, and they've already forgotten? HOW?!"

It's moments like that where I have to remind myself that if I can forget what day yesterday was as quickly as this morning, my students can forget their vocabulary words or how to show their work on a story problem or the parts of a plant or what a living thing is or the difference between fluency and accuracy. And you know what? After a brief period where I really thought I'd have to stop and reteach it all over again, my kids hit their stride like little runners, and everything I'd taught them showed up, slowly but surely, on their papers.

It may take a little longer than I'd like or expect, but if I give them time, it all comes back to them.

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