It is not too often that running and teaching intersect in my life, aside from maybe getting in the way of each other. But a recent interview by the Jamaica Gleaner with 100m American Record holder Tyson Gay brought teaching and running together for me. Gay stated that “Those distance people and field eventers need to get some love from the media too.”
The quote comes from a question about USA vs. Jamaica in the sprints, and Gay goes on to say that there is more to our sport than just the sprinting, and that our sport doesn’t get the attention that it deserves as a whole. That much is undeniable. People don’t pay attention to track & field, or don’t give it much credit, because they think that anyone could do it. It takes someone special, someone like Tyson Gay or Usain Bolt, to make people realize that our sport is special, and worth paying attention too.
KC and I love Tyson Gay. He’s a great sprinter and a tough competitor. He does his talking on the track. When I was talking about this quote with her (It was LetsRun.com’s quote of the day on April 8), we both used the word “humble” to describe Tyson Gay, almost simultaneously.
That’s when KC compared running to teaching. People put down the teaching profession because they think that “anyone can do it,” much the same way that NFL players think they could be world-class sprinters (re: Adrian Peterson’s quest for Olympic Gold). Every once in a while some post comes up on Facebook about “What do teacher’s make” or “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach,” and it will have some 4 billion “likes.” But policy makers continue to make teaching a second-tier profession, and track & field is a second-tier sport on ESPN and the like. Sports celebrities might be able to change that for track & field, and certainly the fans could. But how do we improve things for the teachers?