Learning About Teaching While at a Rodeo

Yep, you read that correctly. I learned a few things this weekend, while traveling roughly 2,000 km with my husband to a handful of rodeos through Saskatchewan and Alberta.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a barrel racer. It’s a sport I’ve competed in since I was 4 years old and it’s one that I enjoy immensely. It keeps me sane while keeping me on my toes.

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My early barrel racing career

This year I am competing on a horse that was raised by my sister and trained by yours truly. Her name is Jellybean. She is 5, will turn 6 on the Fourth of July. We have had our ups and downs and things are truly uncertain when hauling a young horse to rodeos.

She and I made a run at a semi-pro rodeo in Saskatchewan on Friday. We were placing (which is super exciting, considering this was her 6th rodeo ever) against some of the best horses competing in Canada. We then traveled to a few rodeos to watch my husband compete. We returned to Saskatchewan on Sunday to compete at a different semi-pro rodeo.

I was so excited on Sunday morning, we were at an outdoor arena, one of the first of the season, and we were still hanging in for a cheque at the first rodeo of the weekend.

About twenty competitors before I was set to go, Jellybean began to limp. I got off, called my husband over and we began checking over what was wrong. We couldn’t find anything visible but I unsaddled her and we began caring for her.

My husband’s horse is also a barrel horse. I’ve competed on him several times over the last year or so. We get along pretty well. So when my husband suggested that I jump on Buzz to make my run, I went with it.

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Video screenshot of me and Buzz in action on Sunday

Teaching, like barrel racing, sometimes presents scenarios where Plan A isn’t working and we need to move on to a new plan. We shouldn’t be afraid of improvisation and responding to the needs of our students. At the end of the day, we can create beautiful lesson plans that hit every indicator and outcome that do always engage our students. What works for one class may not always work for another group of students.

Don’t stress. Assess the situation, respond and try your best. That’s all we can do as human beings. Sometimes the most memorable material or skills are the ones that pop up unexpectedly.

Teachable moments are priceless and we should engage in those moments every chance we get.

I know, this is a silly post. I legitimately had a light bulb-epiphany-ah-ha moment while driving home on Sunday and I just had to share!

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