I’m a hustler baby, I’m a hustler
I just want you to know, wanna let you know
It aint where I been, it aint where I been
But where I’m bout to go, top of the world!
This week my blog is dedicated to the Dr. Will show. I love this man because his energy is infectious and his brain is moving faster than mine ever will. This month he switched up his blogging challenge and threw out two ideas. The first one was interesting because it dealt all about how we dress. This is a great topic that is definitely blog worthy. However, it did not grab my attention like his second choice.
The second blog idea he threw out was finding your hustle. This resonated with me on a personal and professional level. I have been working since I was 10 years old. I had a newspaper route that netted over $150 a month. This was a boatload of money when I was a child. My bike had all the bells and whistles and I always had money to order food after a day of romping through the town.
The ability to make and spend money on my own has followed me through the years. My high school years were spent playing sports and working at an Italian restaurant. The lessons I learned at the restaurant were certainly journal worthy. I learned every aspect of the business as well as how to interact with people. There were workers from various countries that all wanted to laugh and mess with you. This experience allowed me to find humor at work and realize that you can work hard and have fun at the same time.
My college years were some of the hardest working years I ever had. I worked at a liquor store, summer camps, and a night club. The money rolled in and payed for my car, insurance, cell phone, apartment, books, and nights out on the town. Summers were brutal. I was working 60-80 hour weeks while my friends were partying at the shore. My long hours certainly helped keep me out of trouble and allowed me to interact with all types of people. All the jobs were hard work but I was able to have fun at them as well. This reinforced to me that no matter where you were or what you were doing you could enjoy yourself and make the best of any situation you were in.
Once I started teaching I thought I would be on easy street. I was wrong. I continued to teach, work at the liquor store, and bartend. The bills were getting paid and I was keeping my head above the water. Little did I know the real hustle was just beginning!
My wife and I enjoyed the birth of three children in four years. During this same time I completed two masters’ degrees. My hustle was going strong. I have never been so doggone tired in all my life. It felt like my past jobs were cake compared to parenting, teaching, working at the liquor store, and bartending. My hustle was on and the direction my life was going was making me extremely happy, but I did not feel that I was changing the world. I needed a kick start to my life.
Social media took ahold of my life. Passion and exuberance abounded everywhere. Motivational quotes floated around everywhere I looked. These people got it. The first few months were great. My soul was alive and fired up. Then without me fully understanding it the bubble popped. Group think was the norm rather than the exception. Everyone was back slapping and saying how great they were. I needed more. I needed to help change the world. I was tired of consuming and wanted to start producing. Then it happened.
The #physed community was blowing up on Voxer and new projects were being organically formed right before my eyes. I had finally found my hustle. Something I was passionate about and would do for free. (much like the Dr. Will show) I was going to create free projects that would help pick up the #physed world as well as the rest of education. The biggest hustle and project that I collaborated on is the National Lesson Plan Creator. Eight physical education teachers used social media to create the greatest lesson plan creator in the history of physical education and we were able to offer it for free. We worked well over 200 man hours and received $0 for our work. We hustled because we wanted to create something that would change the world.
Nicholas Endlich (@nicholasendlich) Adam Llevo (@mradampe) and I created two projects for teachers that we felt were needed in the physical education and education world. If you would like to see our balancing project or our student workout videos click here. Those two projects took at ton of time and effort. We offer it to anyone in education to use for free. Our hustle, our passion, is lifting up the entire profession of physical education.
My hustling doesn’t stop there though. I blog every Sunday. This blog is the jump off for #slowchatpe on Twitter. The blog allows me to refine my thoughts. The Twitter chat was much needed at the time. There were only a couple of chats that related to #physed. The chat allows an arena for all educators as well as physical educators to come together and discuss real issues in education. Some weeks are geared more towards the physical education crowd and others toward all educators. This could be my most passionate hustle. I pour my heart and soul into the blog and Twitter chat. The chat is not just people telling each other how great they are. It really tries to delve deeper into subjects and make people defend their position as well as reflect on their teaching. I know this has definitely done this for me.
My final hustle is a podcast called the Voxcast. The Voxcast is a podcast that is created on the Voxer application and is now being sponsored by SPARK! Jorge Rodriguez (@physednow) is the brains behind the operation. We interview educators across the spectrum. The idea behind the podcast is to figure out how typical teachers can improve their pedagogy. Everyone has a story and something great to share with the world. The Voxcast is set up to discover what that is.
As I reflect on my hustle it has occurred to me that I am getting closer to my goal of changing the world. I have found a group of people who are willing to join my hustle and become producers. My question for you is what are you doing to better our profession?
Q1. What is your hustle? What passion are you pursuing? #slowchatpe
Q2. How does your hustle contribute to your life? #slowchatpe
Q3. What was the hardest project outside of college you ever worked on? #slowchatpe
Q4. Are you a consumer or producer? Why? #slowchatpe
Q5. Who’s side hustle should we know about? Who is lighting the world on fire? #slowchatpe
Justin, thanks for your enthusiasm, commitment, and hustle for our profession. It was great meeting the Voxer group (you included) of physical educators in Asheville this summer. It’s imperative to have ‘hustle’ in this profession, an absolute must if we are to be change makers in our industry. My own hustle has never been greater, especially as I embark on my new role as a consultant. I will work my ass off to bring positive change to every school I work with in an effort to bring out the very best in the PE teachers and the programs in which they teach.
It’s so important to keep dialogue and discussion going, to both agree and disagree with one another, to challenge each other’s thinking, and take the time to understand each other’s perspectives as educators. The ultimate goal of hustle should be continued growth, to remain curious about our profession, and to take initiative to find answers out. Part of this whole process is accepting that we do not have all the right answers. As Sir Ken Robinson says, “We must be prepared to be wrong.” In doing so, we embrace failure as a pivotal part of our own learning journeys as educators. Best of luck as you begin the new school year Justin.
Andy it was cool to meet you and your family as well. It’s imperative for teachers to continue their hustle. We have to constantly reinvent ourselves and keep our practices fresh for us as well as our students. Having you enter the consulting world is great for our profession. There is a clear need for your services. Physical education has made great strides over the past 10 years but we still have a long way to go. Curriculum needs to be updated to incorporate 21st pedagogy.
We all need our thoughts to be challenged daily. I have been working diligently to create a PLN that will challenge my assumptions as well as my prejudices. Hopefully other people are doing the same!! As always appreciate your feedback and contributions to our profession.