Everyone’s a Charmander

The following are the positive and enlightening thoughts from Graham Hooton ’14.

I feel like everyone, especially in college but just in life, has a sense of urgency. Every time you have an idea, you need to go and implemented immediately, you need to go to change things this cycle. If you have the idea that you can do better then you have to start doing that right away, and it has to become a habit right away. You have to change your life because you had that idea.

Then we’re disappointed when we fall short of those goals in our New Year’s resolutions or things don’t change. We wanted that something to change and we talked to people about it and it didn’t change. OK.

Let me point about that [falling short] is totally expected, that’s what happens time and again. Why should you be surprised? It always happens that way, be surprised if it does [work the first time], be happy when you succeed and then if you don’t succeed take that as a lesson.

I have dozens of different notebooks and apps and organizations systems. It’s funny to go back and revisit [them] because it’s like, “Oh OK, well I’ll use this for tracking my workouts or use this for tracking reading,” and I go back and I see these lists and I thought of all these great list, but I never went back to it because I didn’t stick to it.

Can you imagine if I kept up with all this? That’s all I would be doing. I’m an ideas guy. I have great ideas about myself, about the world. I don’t have to act on all these ideas; in fact, I need to pick and choose, decide what I want to do. What to do as opposed to what can I get what can do.

Instead of looking at how to change yourself, accept yourself and the community and everything around you. And if there are things that need changing, figure out how you can do those while not actually taking on more work, more labor, more time, because you don’t have it. [We] always fill ourselves up to the brim. If you’re going to take on something else, be explicit about what.

(Graham is getting his teaching certificate for high school science, more specifically physics)

It’s amazing and it’s actually quite liberating because I feel like I can just teach them anything and everything and they’re learning something. And if “this” is the concept, I literally have to talk about the words that are associated with this concept; they’ve never even heard them before, so you have to learn those words.

It’s fundamental but that’s what the difficulty of teaching is. Figuring out what people don’t know and trying to remember what it’s like to [not] know. You can’t teach it from a position of knowing and that’s why a lot of college professors struggle because they know so much. There’s a saying, “The more that you the more you know the more you see.” So you see the connections that students aren’t seeing, oftentimes things make sense to you because of a higher level concepts that you’ve already grasped.

Because of that higher level thing I understand this more basic thing more completely, but [the students] have never seen a lot of [concepts] so they can’t use that.
I thought it would be strange to be called Mr. Hooton but it’s… I think it would be very strange if they call me anything else because they are Charmanders, running around and they’ve got their little stubby arms, big eyes and everything and they’re so far from evolving into Charmeleons. Or at least, they have a little bit of self awareness. That’s my grade elevens, I think, they’re the Charmeleon level.

You’re never going to know everything so. And sometimes, you get really good at the stuff you’re doing, you don’t really realize that you’re getting good at a certain thing. [You might be] keeping track of shipments or something and [you] get really good at keeping track of [shipments]. And that’s a little tool in your toolbox that you never really knew you needed and maybe you never do need again. But maybe it does come in handy.

Being Deliberate
Align your actions with your intentions. If you want to be a certain way and you immediately start acting that way; if you realize you’re not acting that way, just start acting that way. Take that moment of realization to kickstart you again. And then you eventually build it into habits.

Also, leap at whatever opportunities that you have to do the things you want to do. That’s an instinctual thing, you say, “All of this seems like something I want to do. And I just follow it and see where it goes.”

Do your best at things. If you’re going to be doing something, really dive in, lean into it. Make sure you’re getting most of it, and you’re putting the most into it.

Find something you can give to people that’s really easy for you to give but that makes them feel so special, because you’re amplifying your positivity that you bring to the world so much. If what you’re doing makes their day, and for you that was just ten minutes. Whatever it was, if you’re amplifying your impact, I think you’re putting your own efforts to really good work.

For the first two weeks of my teaching, what mattered to me was that maintaining a life outside of it. And then the process stepped up, so I was teaching every other day, and then it stepped up [again] so I was teaching every day. And I realized that at that point what I valued was doing a really good job. So I dropped [everything else]. I was getting [to school] at seven and staying until nine pm. And then that’s when they kick you out of the building, that’s when the engineer comes around and says that it’s time to go.

But you realize what you have to do what you value, you have to decide what to do and what not to do.

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