I just came from the gym. Being pregnant has motivated me to exercise in a way that nothing has since the motivation of my wedding dress. Nice dedication, right?
Soooooo....how are we all doing with our New Year's Resolutions? Hmmm? By a show of hands, how many of us vowed to leave work a little earlier and get to the gym a little more often? Uh-huh. I thought so. (Because of the THRONGS of people suddenly taking up my favorite treadmill that became my favorite long before you made your resolution!) (Sorry, that wasn't directed at you. Lady in pink spandex who should have rethought putting on pink spandex before leaving the house, I'm looking at YOU.) And how is that going? Um, yeah, I thought so.
When are we going to realize that LEAVING WORK EARLY IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE! Sure, I could do it when someone in my family needed something, but for just little old me to get my behind to the gym? Man, is that one easily rationalized away by declarations of, "I just need to grade these tests today, I'll go tomorrow." OR, "Okay, if I plan all these small groupstoday and skip the gym, then I'll have tons of time the rest of the week." OR, "I'm too freaking tired from (insert any number of things that exhaust teachers here)."
Can we all agree that we are making these false promises to ourselves because of our collective fear of developing the dreaded Teacher Ass? (Am I right or am I left?) Now, you know I hate when people justify their limited understanding of teaching by relying on their childhood memories of school BUT....in this case, I'll let it slide. Tell me you DON'T have a memory of one of your beloved teachers who was lovely, sweet, kind and fun but who also had a wide, flat, sad behind. (If you don't have that memory, I'll give you a free gym membership!) And tell me you don't secretly recognize that schools are designed to negate any sort of commitments to healthy eating made by teachers...I mean, the place is practically bulging with birthday cupcakes, chocolates on secretary's desks, the extra donuts from your writing celebration, someones birthday pizza...you know what I mean.
Before you go slit your wrists (or put down that gorgeous piece of coffee cake/bagel loaded with wonderful cream cheese), let me push you to think of all the exercise you DO get WHILE teaching. It may make you feel better. (Relax, and pick up that bagel again. It's worth it.) I have a little personal info that just may cheer you all up on this sunny Saturday morning, as you sip your coffee and most likely decide to just "skip the gym today" in order to write lesson plans, so perhaps you can find the time to go out to dinner later. Are you ready? I had to exercise more once I left my classroom because I a) wasn't tired enough to fall asleep at night without running around like an errand crazed psycho b) I found I had gained a few pounds by taking on the life of a writer/student (read: sitting in front of computer all day eating snacks rationalized as "brain food") and c) no more commute which yes, meant much more sleep but it also meant no more walking a mile each morning and afternoon between the train station and work.
Let's think about it. Do we EVER sit down during the day? Um, NO. Teachers are on their feet, moving around the room (Or warming up their muscles), popping up to help a child at their seat (Those count as squats, right?), marching up and down the stairs (Hello, naturally occurring Stair master.), running to the bathroom in their few spare moments (Other wise known as sprints.) and of course, engaging in the ultimate cardio - trying to get to the photocopier first during that window of time when it's actually working so that you don't have to stand in line mentally stewing in all the other things you could be getting done if you weren't standing in this freaking line!
And don't forget the Teacher Olympics which happen TWICE a year. (Not every TWO years, you lazy athletes!) These Olympics are also known as Setting Up Your Classroom and Putting Away Your Classroom. (Am I alone in thinking that we deserve medals for the amount of physical labor, creativity and skill needed to complete these two essential tasks?) We get into shape for these marathon weight lifting/endurance/mental toughness challenges through out the year by Moving Around Students' Desks. Upon first glance, you might think a teacher is simply trying to break up chatty groups of friends or moving around hard workers to be "good influences" on less motivated groups but you would be wrong. It's so much more complicated than that. In addition to all the educational reasons teachers may move around the furniture in their classrooms from time to time, please also considering that they are toning their finely tuned bodies to be ready for exhibitions such as Field Day, Extra Recess Day and The Field Trip, all event which precede the Putting Away Your Classroom Games.
So, sure, maybe we should say no to the birthday cupcake (probably because it is made in a strange kitchen far far away whose cleanliness is unknown more than because of the calories). Maybe we should get to the gym more to achieve a better work-life balance. But you know what, I think we're doing pretty damn good just to get through the day.