When I was 4 years old, I discovered that the closet bar was totally awesome to hang upside down on. It was completely logical; I’d pull my mother’s clothes down and have a ready-made soft landing. This was perfect…until I tried putting my 1 year old brother up there too.
That was it. Decision made. My parents signed me up for gymnastics.
Their reasoning: ‘Well, she’ll learn to fall and have a mat under her when she does it.” (and save my mother’s clothes and most likely my brother’s life).
Thus began my life as a gymnast. For 18 years following that first class, I ate, breathed, and slept in the gym.
Chalk dust runs through my veins, and to this day I marvel at the fact that my hands finally look ‘normal.’
My last competition was nationals my senior year of college…13 years ago.
However, gymnastics is still a large factor of who I am. It always will be – I was a gymnast. I am a gymnast. I used to kid around that I spent more time upside down that I did right side up!
A decade ago, I traded in my grips and chalk for a chalk board. I am a biology teacher. As was with gymnastics, teaching is demanding, rigorous, and you constantly need to ‘use it or you lose it.’ And just like gymnastics, teaching is a year round sport, and the off season is almost more important than the meet season because that is where the hard training happens – all in preparation for the upcoming meet season. It is really amazing how similar the two are!
Life has pulled me away from being intimately involved with gymnastics, but recently I found a new way to flip and teach at the same time…and I am really excited about it. I found it unexpectedly , and yet it is so fundamentally simple in concept. I am going to flip my classroom….or at least, one class to start. Over the past 6 months, I have been feverishly researching this model of teaching and chatting with teachers all over North America (thank you, Twitter and specifically the #flipclass thread!!). It has been a very long time since I was so excited about a movement in education, but I believe in this one. It just makes sense.
Thirty one years ago, my mom & dad signed me up for gymnastics so that I would learn to fall with a mat under me. I did learn to fall (and I learned a few really cool tricks along the way), and I am sure that will come in handy over the next year. I have no doubt I will fall – and given my new community of flipping teachers out there who are so willing to share their experiences – I have my mat.