How can pain lead to something good?

There are times in our lives when we go through hard situations. These situations ultimately lead to something good, if not better than what we were in. It is great when they end and we can see that it was all worth it.

The other day I was at the gym working out. I go to a studio called True 40. This is a combination of low impact aerobics, barre, Pilates, yoga and TRX. It is a great workout designed to build long, lean muscle and really get you in good shape. I couple this with running to get extra cardio in, and because as we get old, we need to rev up that metabolism.

True 40 can be hard. I had worked out with trainers and ran before I moved to Auburn. Once the house hunting started and I had so much going on, the trainer part went by the wayside and I just ran. This was around Christmas when the actual move took place, so quite honestly, my working out was slim to none by the time I got settled.

I knew that I would need to mix up my workouts. I also knew that I needed to build up muscle. Before I moved I was trying on clothes to try to decide what to get rid of and what to keep. I was walking and looked at my legs as I was walking. It was not pretty. They looked like they had a life of their own. They were flopping around. Where had my muscle tone gone? It is so amazing that it seems to take forever to build the muscle, but in practically no time it seemed to disappear. I had only not been with the trainer for a month and this was what happened.

When I got to Auburn, I knew that just running was not going to cut it. I got on Instagram and an ad popped up for the True 40 studio. I was immediately drawn to it and clicked on it and went to the site. While there I read about what the workout consisted of and decided to try a one-month membership. I felt I would know if I really wanted to keep up with this after a month.

I went in to my first class and I was a little overwhelmed. First of all, I was new here and everyone else seemed to know each other and then, I am out of shape and this is new. I was a little scared. I got my equipment together. You have to get some hand weights, I got 2 pounds, I mean who was I kidding? You have to get your TRX strap, your exercise ball and if you want a towel to mop up your sweat, you get one of those as well. I went to my station, put up my strap and set my equipment right near where I was standing.

Next, it was time to start. This sweet, young girl comes in all bubbly and cute and we begin our low impact workout. I think, this is a breeze! I have been running, this is nothing compared to that. Next we get our hand weights and do some light weights combined with lower body workouts. This seems to be a little harder. I have zero and I am not even being funny when I say this, but zero upper body strength. It is almost comedic that I am struggling with these two-pound hand weights, but I sure am. I keep having to stop and at one point, I even drop them to the floor!

Next we move to the barre for leg work. Sounds simple, right? Wrong! We do these moves and only move one inch. You also do these moves for around a minute and then keep the position and add to it. You can stop at any time and rest, but I feel like I had to stop many times. My legs were shaking and shaking. I was already starting to hurt. After that, we got the TRX straps out and that was a little less painless. It was a struggle, but not as bad as anything else.

Lastly, we get our mats and we begin glute and ab work. Oh dear God! I was in so much pain. I was trying to stretch one leg one way and lift the other one another way and I was hurting! I remember thinking to myself, “The things we do to get in shape!” I kept on and finished the class.

I have been doing this for almost three months now and I see great changes in my body. My muscles in my legs are firm and long and lean. I am not where I want to be, but I look better than I did when I first started.  I have seen the benefits from the pain I have put myself through.

This had me think about life and the pain we sometimes go through before we get to something good. We might even go through a series of painful events before we get to that good thing. It is almost like working out, you have to go through pain to see the rewards of the good.

Isaiah 66:9 states, “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord.”

This goes hand in hand with exercise and many other painful experiences in our lives. We may have to go through pain to get to the good. Look back at many of your life experiences that have been bad and then look at what happened after. You will probably see that it led to something great.

That job you didn’t get, that ended relationship, that house that fell through. I can almost guarantee, each and every one of these led to something so much better. I am not saying it does not hurt when you are going through that painful experience, but you have to stay strong.

When I was at the gym that first time, I wanted to quit. When I woke up the next morning, I could barely walk! I hurt everywhere! I kept on going. I kept working out and I have seen the rewards. My pain has led to a better physical shape.

We need to look at our painful experiences the same way. The next time you are in a painful experience, try to look at it as a shaping experience. Try to look at it as something that will lead to good. Remember that God can turn every painful experience into something better. You just have to trust in Him.

Online Education is here to Stay

When online education first came around, many people laughed at it. They thought there was no way it was legitimate. The first few online schools that were around seemed to lack some credibility and with that lack came doubts about just how good an online education is. Fast forward almost 20 years.

The Beginning

Online education began many years ago and around 2002, it really took off. There were universities, such as University of Phoenix, who began to not just offer a few online courses, but full degrees that could be obtained solely online. The attraction of this was that you could still work a full time job and attend school full time without having to worry about setting foot on an actual college campus. This appealed to people who had to work long days and just could not think about trying to attend night classes and those who did not live near a major university.

Now, almost every major university offers some type of online degree. Not only is online education popular in the university world, but in the K-12 world also. There are school systems that cannot afford certain programs, while there are others who are having a hard time finding teachers in certain subject areas. These school systems are able to utilize these online schools and offer these programs to their students without missing a beat.

These are taught by actual professionals

These classes are not taught by people have no idea what they are doing and are not credible, these are actual professionals. In the K-12 area, all teachers are certified. If they teach in ten states, they are certified in all ten states. For the university world, all educators have a Master’s degree. This means that they are all highly educated people that are educating these students of the virtual world.

What the classes consist of

The classes at the university level have discussion forums that serve as a classroom-type environment. The students have questions to answer each week. They are to use information from their readings and they are to comment on two other peers posts on two other days. So, they have to be in at least three days a week. They have assignments and papers and even tests that are due and they have to be great time managers. The instructors can add some information into the classes, but for the most part, a curriculum team develops them.

For the K-12, it is pretty much the same, except there are typically no discussion forums. The teacher does hold a live chat each week and the students can log in and ask questions or they can email the teacher and get the help they need.

Instructors have requirements

All instructors have requirements and they try to be attentive to the students and help them as best they can to better learn the material. They provide feedback on all submitted work so that students can see where and what they need to improve on.  So, while many people think online instructors don’t really have a great deal of work to do, they may in fact have the same amount, if not more, than that of a regular classroom teacher.

Online education is not going away any time soon. As a matter of fact, it seems to be getting more and more popular each day. While some people are still not able to accept it as a credible means to an education,  it most certainly is becoming more credible each and every day.

How talking about math helps students learn

Let’s imagine you have a math class of 24 7th graders. They are not just sitting there working problems, well probably 3/4’s of them are working problems while the others are doing something else, and they are not just looking at you lecture with their eyes glazed over. These students are eagerly talking about math with the teacher and they are actually excited about it. They understand the applications and how to apply them and they actually know how this math can apply to the real world.

Talking about math

Talking about math is something that has become common in most math classrooms. With the common core standards, teachers are having to teach students how to better understand and communicate what they are learning in math class. We all know that not all students learn the same. They all have individual learning styles. Most of the time a student who excels in reading, rarely excels in math. They are really never given the opportunity to showcase their ability of reading in the world of math and so they struggle and many times get lost.

Students do better when they talk about math in their classes and with their teachers and peers. They can actually grasp the concepts better and understand how to apply them. The teacher finds that they are excited to do this and that they no longer dread the class. I have studied this and found that most students really do find success in math when they can talk it out and really try to justify the way the problems are solved.

What I did

The first thing I did when starting this was I had my students keep math journals. These are nothing new as writing was stressed across the curriculum, but what is done with these journals was where the talking began. I would put a problem on the board for the students to solve and have them write it in their journals. I would make them write out each step on how the problem was solved and then try to think of a real world application that might use that type of math. I would be lying if I said my students had success with this at first. It was pretty painful. They complained about writing and they just could not get focused on this “outside of the box” thinking in math class.

After they write in their journals, we began to discuss the different steps on how the problem was solved. Many times we teachers have one way in which a problem should be solved to find the correct answer, but with common core, we have learned that there are different ways to arrive at the correct answer. I would lead the discussion with my way in which the problem should be solved. I would start with step 1 and write down what I did. I would then direct the conversation to the class and have them interject with what they did on that step if it was different than mine. We would talk about that step and I would let them argue their defense on why it could work. I continued this process until the end of the problem. There were some students who might be way off with this and their different ways of solving problems, but for the most part, most of the students really did well on this and really thought about the concepts used to solve them.

Where the Discussions would lead

These discussions would often lead into other areas of math when we talked about the real world applications. No longer did I hear, “when will we ever use this again?”. I was actually seeing students really think about how this math, yes even the math with letters, could be applied and used in the real world.

I had students who were motivated to come to class. I had students who could actually apply their different learning styles to this subject. We could branch out and do fun projects with math and they could work together. I had students who were motivated to work in groups and while there were a few shy students who might have been afraid to speak up in the past, due to the class discussions, they were not afraid to express their way of thinking.

While many of us might cringe at having these discussions in math class, we should embrace this difference. We need to see how this affects our students and enables them to better learn the material. We need to focus on how this gets the students to think and really want to understand why and how the problems are solved.