There were 2 things that I heard however that made me think that it might be possible to suggest some changes. Angela herself said the she would love to work out with others, and also mentioned that one morning that she had really enjoyed was going to a friend's gym with her. She also mentioned that she didn't want to exercise alone early in the morning outside the home when it was still dark because of safety issues. Could I find a way to improve Angela's already organized and energetic morning so that she could workout with others before school?
The next stage was ideate - generating lots of alternatives and getting Angela to give me feedback on these. For example I suggested if she wanted to workout with someone she might be able to employ a personal trainer - this would be someone who would know her fitness goals and would be able to keep her on track. I wondered if she was able to join a gym that opened very early, but discovered that there wasn't one close to where she lived. I questioned whether she could exercise outside with a friend in the morning as this would be a safer option, but it would of course involve finding someone in the area who wanted to exercise so early. I also wondered if it would be possible for Angela to drive to school and then exercise there along with colleagues. The problem this ran into was that there are no showers at her school, and exercise usually leaves you hot and sweaty - not the best way to start the school day. However Angela did seem to be enthusiastic about working out with colleagues so we discussed different exercise options that could be done before school, such as yoga and tai chi for example, that could work on suppleness and strength, leaving the more energetic exercise such as running to after school, after which Angela could drive home and shower. Angela seemed pleased with this suggestion and the idea that it could be possible to do different activities before and after school. She said it was an Aha moment that you could split the exercise session into different times with different purposes.
Angela also worked hard at finding a solution to my problem - one of not getting to school on time. Although I have a morning routine fairly well established - and it is also fairly quick - I often find myself procrastinating and hanging around at home to answer emails and so on and then rushing out the door and cycling quickly up the road to get to school. We talked about how in previous schools when I travelled with someone this wasn't a problem because I always felt I had to leave to pick someone else up and therefore had to be on time. Since I don't have students first thing, there wasn't the urgency to get to school now. Also Angela was able to spot that the reason I wasn't ever so worried about arriving late was because I always worked late. Each evening before leaving school I made sure that everything was finished - there was nothing outstanding that would get me to work in the morning. She suggested two things for me, both of which I will try out next school year: firstly that 3 days a week I should try to meet someone for tea/breakfast at school before school starts which gives me a time to be there and someone to be accountable to if late. Secondly she suggested that 2 days a week I try to leave some things unfinished so that I have to get in early and finish them off the following mornings. I'm not sure how I will feel about this but I will certainly give it a try.
Angela and I are so different in our approaches to mornings that at first it would seem that we would have little empathy for each other but this process has shown me how important it is to really listen and hear what the other person is saying. Our differences have been good as we have been able to offer fresh perspectives and ideas. Maybe we will both have better morning experiences as a result.
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