This semester I teach a class called “Careers Studies”. It is a mandatory class for Ontario students and teaches them all about setting goals, transitioning to the post-secondary world and how to prepare for searching for jobs. I have taught the course probably 15 times by now and is one of a few course I really enjoy teaching. I teach the course with a very hands-on approach, going away from lecturing about multiple intelligences and “what kind of season are you?” questionnaires and teaching real-life skills. Students learn about important health and safety information for most jobs, including office and retail ones, how to make a budget for when they are on their own and of course, building a resume and learning how to be successful in an interview.
We also have several guest speakers come in – visits from Algonquin College/University of Ottawa or Carleton, Skills Ontario (for the trades), the Military and we will also join up with the Civics class (Intro to Canadian Government class) and will have our local MPP in. But, there was one person who I thought would be a good guest speaker and would be in Ottawa for a few weeks. So, I sent her an email and she said that she could come in! It was a bit difficult to arrange between an athlete’s and track coach’s schedule, but yesterday my class welcomed Lanni Marchant to our class!
My class knew she was coming as I showed them her race pictures and asked them to prepare a few questions. I also had a grade nine phys ed class join in. We had a big problem finding supply teachers yesterday and I offered to take the class into mine as I felt Lanni would be a great guest speaker for the girls. Lanni sent me some pictures, and I made a little slide show to play while she was talking. The students were great – they listened and they asked a few questions. Lanni was an amazing guest speaker (even though I’m a little biased – as she is my favourite runner). She talked about her journey from being from a family of 7 in London, working three jobs in high school to her experience at University. She then talked about what has happened since then: becoming an elite runner, being fired from a law firm on her birthday, to being told “No” by Athletics Canada to run in the 2012 Olympics because she didn’t run the “Canadian standard” even though she was well below the Olympic A standard. Then, of course, breaking the Canadian marathon record and everything that has happened since. Lanni described how surreal it was to be sitting in the airport and seeing her face on all the newspapers and on the TV.
A few important messages that Lanni gave the class was that restricting her diet led to several injuries and it was not the way to go. As most of you who know Lanni probably know, she loves her burgers and beer now. Lanni also talked about an important message that her Mom gave her when she was trying to figure things out: “you are just a girl, you can change your mind”. This message was perfect for the students since we were talking about how everyone pressures young students to make career choices or to steer them towards careers they might not enjoy. We have talked about how it is ok to not know right now and how it is ok to do something that you want to do and it is totally ok to change your mind. I just hope that the students also got how hard Lanni worked to get where she is, both as a runner and a lawyer. Hard work does pay off!
It was great having Lanni at my school yesterday and it was even more great to have the chance to talk to her. It is going to be a good race next week when Lanni, Tasha, Krista and the Rachel’s all race the 10K next week. I am probably going to get a neck cramp as I will be able to see them come around the canal on the other side. The race is going to be on Rogers in Ottawa, so I will have to PVR it so I can watch the race after I run my own 10K. Lanni is also one of three people that knows my running news that will be announced on Monday 😉
Thanks so much Lanni for coming in and talking to my students!