The Austin Marathon ran last weekend and it reminded me of a conversation I had several years ago after finishing the race. My friend and I were discussing the various combinations of natural talents with hard work. He had been planted at the finish line for much of the race, watching everyone who crossed it before me.
He watched the winner cross the line in two hours and 14 minutes. Between the winner and I, he watched about 1000 other people cross the line.
I joked that I definitely worked harder than the winner because I was on the course for 92 minutes longer! Chris did not argue that my year-long training regiment to prepare for the race was indeed hard work. He did argue that the winner had trained for YEARS to get to the point where he could win an international marathon!
So I changed my question...Who worked harder during the race? Was it me, or the winner, or the guy who finished in seven hours?
I think Chris enjoyed the question! He started to advocate for two of the sides. He said that the winner pushed himself to his physical limit to win the race. We also guessed that the seven hour finisher had to keep working for more than three times longer to finish. He also joked that I was smack dab in the middle of them, so I shouldn't even be considered in this conversation!
Thinking about students, educators know that some kids pick up new learning more easily than others. Some kids find geometry easy to learn while struggling with reading comprehension. When I think across the years of the students that I have taught, the differences are amazing, especially considering that all the kids in one class are expected to master the same learning standards.
As a teacher, it can be quite challenging to know when you are truly getting maximum efforts out of each student!