Thursday, March 24, 2011

"This Is Not the Place to Take it Easy for the Day"

I hurt myself a couple of days ago--no big deal, just a sprained ankle at yoga. For the last three days, I've been hobbling around my school on crutches, trying to avoid putting any weight on it.

What's that? Hobbling around my school on crutches, not staying at home with my foot on a pillow? Sure. My students seem consistently surprised that I'm at work. For me, since I'm not in pain to the point of feeling unable to get through the day without screaming, I can come to work without much of a problem. Since, as you know, so many of our students struggle with coming to school consistently, it's important to model mucking through a day or two at less than 100%. So that's part of it.

But since the topic of "you teachers have it so easy!" has been on my mind lately, I thought I'd also share what our secretary said to me yesterday. Asking if I was well enough to be at work, I said I thought I would be fine if I could just take it a little easy, maybe sitting down more during the lesson or asking kids to bring me their work instead of constantly circulating around the room.

She laughed dryly. "This is not the place to take it easy for the day," she said, rolling her eyes.

I laughed too. Now I'm pretty lucky to be at a point with my students where they see the situation I'm in and they'll work with me and not take advantage of it. But I know what she means. Mine is a school where even the principal rocks Nikes most of the time. Teaching is not a job for anyone who needs to slow down--literally. It's a physically demanding job as well as an emotionally demanding one.

Well, I'd better go get dressed. Got to find something that matches the crutches, maybe for just one more day.
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