Who Am I?
My name is Marilyn McAlister, I’m a sixth grade gifted and talented teacher in a rural town in the Imperial Valley, in southern California. I was born and raised 3 miles from where I work, Imperial, California. I attended San Diego State University for both my undergraduate and master's degrees. I can be found on Twitter @MarilynEdu.
Growing up, I’m a twin, I was a ballerina and tap dancer. I loved dressing up and performing. In high school, I was a cheerleader. My daugher, also a dancer and cheerleader, would be irate right about now if anyone said that cheering is not a sport. In college, the 80’s, I did aerobics, and as an adult I run, do Crossfit, hike, and recently picked up yoga.
Two reasons, my body and my mind. I believe there is a strong correlation between a healthy body and a healthy mind. When I’m regular with my fitness, I’m more energetic, more alert, and much more balanced and happy.
Currently, I run, do Crossfit WODs and have recently implemented yoga. About six years ago, a parent of one of my students said that I’d make a good runner. I laughed at first, but he kept on me. I decided to try it out. Well, much to my surprise, I went from 0 to my first half marathon in 13 months. I loved it! When I run around our farming fields, my pace is steady, my mind is free to roam, and space is created for creativity. My husband introduced me to the book “The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess” by Lou Shuler and trainer Alwyn Cosgrove. I learned the fundamentals of lifting then joined Crossfit. I was hooked after my first WOD. After two years at a box, I switched over to a local gym but continue to implement WODs using the MyWod app. When I leave the gym, I’m full of confidence, strength, and determination.
I have one thing to say here. I love food! I actually eat pretty healthy, mostly paleo, but I have no sense of portion control. Growing up I was the “Human Garbage Disposal” and it hasn’t changed much. This past year though, I cut out all sugar and went low-carb, high fat. I lost 12 pounds. And a pleasant side effective was having a heightened sense of taste. I feel like I've finally taken control of my diet.
As an educator, setting a good example for my students has become part of my mission. Our students watch everything we do. Let’s make the most of it. When I’m training for a run, I keep them abreast of my progress. When I PR on a lift, I celebrate with them. When I trip on the plyo box, I tell them how distracted I was. When I just can’t get myself out for a run, I confess to them. Fitness is a journey. I take my students on it with me. As a matter of fact, I implement a version of Crossfit Kids with our upper grade students. We have PVC pipe dowels for lifting, wooden boxes for jumping, ropes, mats, and even kettlebells. At the end of the year, I take my class to the gym to meet and workout with my coaches. And boy, am I proud of their form!
My running mantras are “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” and “Finish Strong.” My educational motto is “HealthyBodyHealthyMind.
#Goals for 2018-2019
Personal: With both of our children away at college, our son will be a sophomore at UCIrvine and our daughter is starting her teaching credential and master's program at CSUFullerton, we're empty nesters. I ended up spending an enormous amount of time with school work . . . because I could. This year I will focus on work-life balance. I want to increase my reading for pleasure and I want to cherish every moment when our children come home for visits.
Professional: I've been on a journey to provide more opportunities for inquiry in my classroom. I'd like to continue with that as well as implement passion projects and hone our student-led classroom. I've enjoyed presenting and sharing lesson design and tech integration at local and nearby conferences. This brings me so much joy. New topics I'd like to share are digital feedback strategies and how to implement passion projects and a student-led edcamp.
Athletic: I turned 50 this year. Woohoo! I feel great and am excited to be 50 and fabulous. I have a couple of San Diego and Los Angeles runs to do this summer and fall. My daughter works at Disneyland and she has some friends and family runs for us to do. My husband and I have a spot in Coronado where we go paddle boarding and kayaking. We also love our weekend mornings at the gym. I started a yoga series from Beach Body on Demand. It's great after work when I want to decompress. And of course, after dinner walks in our neighborhood are great for digestion and quiet time with my husband. My goal for this year is to stay active and have fun doing it.
My one word for the year is “present.”
Instead of focusing on action this year, I want to focus on a state of mind.
I want to appreciate those tiny joys that will nourish my soul.
I want to truly be in the moment, with myself, my family, and my students.
I want to listen to my body and nurture it with exercise, healthy food, and plenty of sleep.
I want to prepare for my day with calm and serenity.
I want to pause and reflect on my day.
And I want to listen, really listen
#MuchLove . . . Marilyn