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Let’s Get Physical

4 February 2015 by shartley   



I teach at a Catholic school and this morning we had our Dedication Mass, as in dedicating the academic year to God.  It went for over an hour with lots of standing and sitting, singing, sitting still and listening, walking up for Communion, crossing oneself and consuming the wafer and all that’s once we enter the building.  1700 people in one large space and I am continually amazed at the awe and quiet the students display for most of the service and when we have assemblies.  It’s a different story in the classrooms!

My school is on 42 hectares and my staffroom and classroom are almost as far as they can be from the Sports Centre where we conduct large school gatherings.  My staffroom is on the third storey at the top of the hill whereas the Sports Centre is down the bottom next to the ovals, yes, that would be a plural of three ovals.

I was tired this morning.  Actually, I’m usually tired, but this morning I was particularly tired. When I’m particularly tired I go to the coffee cart that hangs around at school most days before the first class.  It was absent this morning.  On the way back to class from Mass I popped into the Canteen and asked for caffeine and discovered that the canteen keeps full strength Coke, just for staff, since it is deemed too unhealthy to serve to students.  I downed that Coke rather quickly and it kept me going the rest of the day.

I am not a PDHPE teacher, nor do I teach a practical subject, but sometimes teaching feels incredibly physical.  I constantly roam through the desks to check on students’ progress and wellbeing, tripping over schoolbags and running into desks (my first year teaching I had permanent bruises on my thighs from collecting the corners of desks).  I know when I’m writing excessively on the board when my arm becomes tired.  The worst time though was the morning after my first ever boxing class at the gym, my hands were shaking so much I had to give in and change the plan for the day.  There are 48 stairs between my main classroom and my staffroom; we call the stairwell The Stairmaster.  Between playground duty, classes and staffroom I generally walk 6000 steps each day without trying.  Last Friday it was 10,000 steps but that included about 1000 steps at the gym in the morning and another 1000 in the evening at the shops.  Now this isn’t that much and I should be walking 10,000 steps each day since I am trying to lose weight but due to the accumulative effect of all this hard surface walking, some excessive walking days (in New York 6 months ago I did many days in excess of 20,000 steps) and my more recent attempts to try to become a runner again (I’ve tried before but am yet to declare myself one) I have damaged my feet so that I have plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis in both feet, but much more in the left than the right.  The pain in my left heel can be excruciating and it is starting to impact upon my teaching.  I now often sit down during Home Room.  I know that sounds rate innocuous but it means I interact less with the students.  I am more likely to email someone then go find them for a face-to-face conversation.  My physio taught me today how to tape up my own foot and is sending me back to the GP because I have an incredible amount of swelling around my ankles at the end of the school day.

PS I’m not happy with this post, its boring topic or its whingey nature but I suppose the pain post physio this afternoon dominated my thoughts.  I wouldn’t post it except that I have made a commitment to #28daysofwriting – hopefully tomorrow I’ll have something a little cheerier to write about.

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