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So, I have plantar fasciitis. Since January, my heel has been killing me. I have worn heels my whole life. I am short. I like heels. I like shoes in general. I have always been okay with a little foot pain if the shoes were cute enough. But I was on my feet a lot in the library and figured flats would be better for me at work this winter. But I went to flats that were cute instead of flats with great support. So I got plantar fasciitis. It started in January and I diagnosed myself. I figured I could take care of it and fix it myself with all of the Internet resources available. I bought my first pair of Danskos and figured I'd be better for spring shoes.
But it got worse. It has gotten to the point that I can't take a walk outside and I actually wear running shoes (or custom orthotics in my Danskos) to work with dress pants. A good look, I know.
So, I finally started physical therapy last week. The therapist was very nice and smart and, as always, I was amazed at the expertise that he had about such a specific issue. On my first visit, he asked me what my goal was for physical therapy. My answer was immediately, "To wear cute shoes again." He was not amused and said, "I am not going to write that down" and looked at me waiting for another response. So I said, "To exercise without pain" to which he smiled and then wrote it on my chart. The rest of the session went fine and I am on an exercise schedule. I hope to be back in cute shoes in 2 months.
But I can't stop thinking about this conversation and whether or not we, as teachers, really let our students own their learning and whether I always value their true goals as readers. Really, I do want to exercise without pain. But, just as much, I want to get back to cute shoes. Even though my goal did not qualify "to be written down", it is my goal. But I knew how to play the game and what the therapist wanted to hear, so I went with that and he was happy with my acceptable goal. So, we could move on.
This was a quick conversation but it has stayed with me. Student ownership of learning and authentic goal setting have alway been important to our classroom conversations as readers. Now, I think I will be more aware of my reaction to student goals that do not match my own goals for them--Do I give students the message that their "trivial" goal isn't worth writing down? Do they play the game of school so well that they know what I want them to say and just say it even if it isn't true? We'll see.