My ladies exercise class occasionally undertakes what we call a “Fitness Challenge.”
Now, boys and girls, the Fitness Challenge should not--I repeat not--be confused with being fitness-challenged. (Which, of course, I am, but that’s not the point.) In our Fitness Challenge, we come up with a few objectives, throw in a reasonable weight loss goal (like I promise to lose 6 ounces within 4 weeks (OK, OK, OK maybe it’s a tad bit more weight), and we devise proper punishment for failing to live up to the expectations and standards of the class. In our case, it’s a money jar. Each and every failure costs a one dollar fine to the money jar.
At the end of the challenge, we empty the money jar and rush speedy quick over to a nearby Mexican restaurant to consume mass quantities of food. Let’s just say that the dinner is usually on me (and not just on my shirt either). Now, I’m not sure about the wisdom in all of that, but it sure is fun.
Well, this Fitness Challenge thing got me to thinking about things. (I know, I know, I know. We all know that happens when I get to thinking, and we all know how I feel about things.)
So, I got to thinking that perhaps I should devise an Educational Challenge, you know, with objectives, goals and consequences. (I think some of you call those lesson plans, but no, silly, I’m not talkin’ about lesson plans here--although I probably ought to rustle up some of those before next week.)
No Siree, Missy. I’m talking about a full-blown 5-alarm Educational Challenge here, strictly not for the faint of heart or Richie hatas. So let’s get right to it. We don’t have a moment to lose. After all, we’ve got five days down and done, and only 172 more school days to go, but, hey, who’s counting? Nope, not me.
5-alarm Fun-Filled Educational Challenge
Challenge #5…Can I have more chocolate, please?
I realize that this one directly undermines the whole Fitness Challenge thing (which probably explains why most of my paycheck ends up in the Fitness Challenge money jar), but ah well…
Challenge #5 is to give out more (what else?) chocolate prizes. Chocolate just sets the bar at a higher standard of fabulousness for the year. I gave out chocolate to one of my classes last week for prizes and one kid exclaimed, “I just love this class!”
Forget the AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) located throughout the school, I now have an ECD.
As in Emergency Chocolate Drawer.
I think it’ll come in quite handy throughout the year. Don’t you?
Challenge #4…Increasing membership in the RFC--Richie Fan Club and decreasing membership in the RHC--the Richie Hata’s Club…
Now my principal (who by the way is a very, very nice guy) claims there isn’t such a thing as the RHC, but we all know there are teacher-types who like us (after all, what’s not to like about us?), and we all know, sadly, that there are naysaying hatas out there too. Hails Bails, isn’t that life in general? Still, we can all try and get along, can’t we?
Last year, I identified five charter members of the RHC. (There may have been a sixth one, but I’m not sure.) Despite those five, I still managed to win a few more hearts and minds… OK, OK, OK so it usually involved mass quantities of chocolate, a few StarBucks gift certificates and some favor trading on my part. But still, I think my fan base has grown a bit from last year.
…and don’t you just hate those “howevers”?…
With underclassmen photographs scheduled for next week (you do remember I’m the yearbook adviser, don’t you?), I have a feeling that picture day will most certainly significantly and most definitely negatively impact my fan base.
I guess I better fill up the ECD. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.
Challenge #3… Big Fat Stupid Head No More
OK, all you Naysaying Nellies can stop right now. I know I have made numerous proclamations and promises NOT to say Big Fat Stupid Head, and, of course, I have failed miserably. But let’s not be dreamkillers. Let’s see if we can get beyond our record of 92 days, 19 hours, 39 minutes and 15 seconds. Let’s not concentrate on our failures. If we did that, would we have put a man on the moon? Would post-it notes have been created? Would Michael Phelps have won his gazillion gold medals? Give me the dream. Let’s start up that counter again! Let’s reach for the stars! Let’s just see just how long we can make it through the year without once--audibly--uttering, “Big Fat Stupid Head!”
Ladies and gentlemen, start your counters!
Challenge #2… Do not be a bubblehead.
This sort of goes with Challenge #3. This year I will attempt to leave my thoughts in the bubble above my head and not say them. Verbalizing the thoughts in the bubble is bad. (You know what I’m talking about, or rather, what I shouldn’t be talking about.) So, everyone, repeat after me… “The bubble is bad. Verbalizing the bubble is very, very bad indeed.”
Now before we move onto our top challenge, we need to have a money jar and agree that violations of each and every challenge will cost us a dollar a pop.
OK, now on to Challenge No. 1… Can we have a drumroll pah-leese…
Challenge #1…Ta-da! Keep my desk clean
Every year I start school with a clean desk. I neatly sort through the piles of stuff and file them, toss them or hide them. OK, OK, OK so there’s a lot of hiding going on there, but at least at the start of the school year, I can actually see the brown formica of my desk. My paper clips rest neatly housed in their black desk organizer tray, multi-colored post-it notes are stacked in their special baskets and I have neatly labeled and color-coded my file folders to say things like “Hot File,” “Budget” and “Things That Will Get You Fired 2008-2009.”
If only life were so simple.
If only my desk would remain organized.
If only the desk gremlins would stay hidden at night.
I told you that emergency chocolate was going to come in handy.