Another Week, Another Training (Auburn)

Day’s Verse:
What advantage does man have in all his work
Which he does under the sun?
A generation goes and a generation comes,
But the earth remains forever.

Ecclesiastes 1:3-4

Cue week three of one training a week. This week it’s Auburn, and paid for by the Bicycle Alliance’s CPPW grant. Oh, yes, didn’t I mention that the Bike Alliance has two grants where we teach the same thing? CPPW is Communities Putting Prevention to Work, stimulus money that’s aimed at reducing obesity and smoking. It comes through the Federal government to the King County Department of Health to the Bicycle Alliance to me. Your tax dollars at work! The Bicycle Alliance’s CPPW grant is run by John Vander Sluis, a great guy and, more importantly for me, an organized guy. (Seth Schromen-Warwin, who does the OSPI grant, is also an organized guy. I have to give him credit for doing a truly amazing job. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled blog post.) The Bike Alliance’s CPPW grant is much more than just these two classes, but this is my part in it, and it’s essentially the same thing as the OSPI class. Continue Reading...

Get Out Your Tiny Violin

Day’s Verse:
Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow; you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.
Proverbs 27:1

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: My Bicycle Alliance teaching job may be going away very soon. Bluntly put, I may be losing my teaching job because of some federal requirements for major construction projects.

Now the explanation, which is exceptionally convoluted, so bear with me. The funding for the OSPI grant I’m doing for the Bicycle Alliance comes from the federal government, the US Department of Transportation. It’s the same money that pays for major capital improvements — big road projects. Our project doesn’t involve building roads, of course, but it’s transportation money nonetheless. That means all the rules that apply to those major road projects also apply to our little $250,000 bicycle grant. Specifically, one rule says that essentially all steel used in the project must be American-made steel; the rule says that of $1,000,000 spent, only $2,500 can go to non-American steel. Continue Reading...

Safe Routes to School Training #1: Done!

Day’s Verse:
It’s better to be wise than strong;
intelligence outranks muscle any day.

Proverbs 24:5

All right, this isn’t the world’s shortest or most creative title, but it does get the job done, and it has the added bonus of giving you a taste of what the rest of this post is going to be like: Long and workmanlike. That said, let’s dive into it.

…I started to write a post describing what happened during the training, but that’s just not compelling to me right now. Instead, here are some things that stuck out to me. Continue Reading...

What I’m Up To

Day’s Verse:
Give yourselves to disciplined instruction;
open your ears to tested knowledge.

Proverbs 23:12

I feel that my recent work with the Bicycle Alliance needs a little bit of explaining. It’s not the kind of work I can summarize quickly in a word or phrase. Ian can say, “I’m a software engineer,” or “I’m a programmer,” and people have some idea of what he spends his days doing. My current employment situation isn’t so easy to succinctly describe. So here goes. Continue Reading...

Train the Trainer #1: Canceled

Day’s Verse:
The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words.
Proverbs 10:19

After all the preparation and buildup, the class I was supposed to teach — officially called the Train the Trainer for the Safe Routes to School Bicycle & Pedestrian Skills Education program — got called off due to inclement weather. It was a double-whammy: Lots of snow falling and expected to fall in Snoqualmie Pass, and snow/rain, near-freezing temperatures, and high winds expected in Mattawa for the foreseeable future. (Which isn’t very far, when it comes to weather.) Continue Reading...

Teaching Anxiety

Day’s Verse:
This third I will put into the fire;
I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’

Zechariah 13:9

Things are getting busy around here. My days of quiet down time are rapidly coming to a close as the Bicycle Alliance’s teaching grants really get underway. It’s looking like I’ll spend March through May intensively teaching bike classes to PE teachers — probably one class a week, which is a lot. Each class is 15 hours, and most of them will be in remote school districts way out in eastern Washington. I’ll be spending a fair amount of time on “business trips” for the Bike Alliance, spending a couple nights in places like Okanogan as I teach the two-day class. I’m not wild about this, but it’s only for a couple months. Most of all I’m actually nervous about teaching the classes. I’ve taught Traffic Skills 101 before, and feel moderately comfortable about that. But this class adds a whole different dynamic: The kids’ bike skills curriculum. We’re training PE teachers to teach a bike unit in their classes, and that bike unit is something I’ve never actually implemented myself. Back in September I spent a week in Spokane observing and assisting a PE teacher as she did the unit. But that’s very different from having done it myself. I’m no PE teacher, and I’m concerned that my being a bike person and not a PE teacher will undermine my credibility among my PE teacher students. Continue Reading...