Your health and teaching

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Alex2Eng, May 22, 2009.

  1. Alex2Eng

    Alex2Eng Rookie

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    May 22, 2009

    Does anybody here feel the need to be in extremely good shape to be a teacher. I am a little over weight and I am working extremely hard this summer to become fit and healthy because I feel that teaching is going to take a huge toll on me. I have one year left of college before I start, but I am preparing.

    Also, as a guy, do any of you think that having a harsh tough guy appearance will instill some fear in the students? Kinda showing that I'm the "I don't take BS from students so don't bother" type of teacher.

    I don't know just curious...

    Also, isn't it a good idea to be in the best shape ever and be a "Role Model" for students? Especially since the USA has a major problem with obesity and weight related problems.
     
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  3. MrsB2B

    MrsB2B Rookie

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    May 22, 2009

    advice

    Hi!

    Obviously you do not HAVE to be in the best shape, but I have found that it does help. I am in my second year teaching. I have never been overweight, but did gain about 10lbs towards the end of my first year. Stress takes a toll on your body!!

    I have always been athletic and active so January 1st I made it my mission to get in the best shape of my life. To the point where I want to do at least one fitness competition before I start having kids in several years.

    I have lost the 10lbs and am A LOT more toned. I FEEL INCREDIBLE! I have more energy all day long. The kids don't wear me out. My overall mood is positive all day. Other faculty members have noticed the change as well. Plus, if you start a strict diet, you are less likely to snack on all of the junk that kiddies tend to give as gifts and tokens of appreciation. I accept all with a smile and usually give the treats to my husband.

    I am also getting my personal trainer certification and am starting to do mini workouts with my students. It is sooo sad to see how large some of them are (they are 4th graders). I wear clothes smaller than them in some cases!

    In regards to your appearance. Never rely on the way you look as intimidation. It probably helps, but students will quickly learn who you really are. They tend to see right through outward appearance, unless of course they are the really young ones (k, 1, 2). They are scared of everything!!

    Hope my advice helps! As always, don't do anything because it sounds good. Do what makes you feel good. Eating right and exercise do it for me!
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    No, I don't agree.

    I'm probably 10 pounds over what I would like to weigh, so weight isn't my real issue.

    But I spent a decent part of this year recovering from 2 surgeries (with now 2 more on the horizon.) And it simply wasn't an issue. When I couldn't write on the board I used the projector. When I couldn't carry a heavy leather briefcase I switched to a tote.

    To be honest, it wasn't ever an issue.

    And at 5'4", and teaching high school, the whole tough guy thing obviously isn't part of my teaching persona. I am who I am. I'm fair and I know my stuff and I'm good at what I do. I don't need to intimidate kids to get them to listen. They tend to like and respect me, so intimidation really isn't necessary. And when I say "ENOUGH!" they believe me.
     
  5. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    May 22, 2009

    IT is always a good idea to be in good shape,but it is very important to get sufficient rest and a support group to exchange ideas ans to vent with.
    It is much more the way you act and handle problems that will occur ,not the way you look, that will determine the success you will have in dealing with the children.
    Good Luck iin your pursuit in becoming a teacher.
     
  6. Alex2Eng

    Alex2Eng Rookie

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    I'm surprised with some of these answers. I mean from what I have seen...students don't seem to have as much respect for a teacher who doesn't take care of himself/herself. I think health is a pretty big part of the hidden curriculum. How couldn't it be? Especially in a society where there are so many health problems. I think students are very judgmental of teachers because they ARE supposed to be role models. Not the stereotypical unhealthy American.
     
  7. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I have not seen that at all. I am average weight, but one of my friends/coworkers is very overweight. She is one of the most well liked and respected teachers in the school. That's only one person out of many that I know, including several family members. Weight has nothing to do with how well you can teach. It might affect you by becoming tired easily, but I don't see how it would affect your ability to teach. Weight is a touchy subject for me, and this could be offensive to people online who are overweight.
     
  8. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    My former team teacher is an amazing, awesome, fantastic teacher, although she is a bit larger. The kids adore her beyond words. As do I. She has better classroom management than many smaller teachers I've seen. She is an inspiration, and weight does not matter a smidge.
     
  9. artjen

    artjen Rookie

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    May 22, 2009

    I personally enjoy working out and running for exercise. I work with veteran teachers who are very overweight. Great teachers come in all shapes and sizes so I don't think that has any bearing on what kind of teacher you can be. However, exercise may have an impact on your energy levels which can help you to be a better teacher.
     
  10. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    I think it has more to do with how you deal with the stress so it doesn't affect you as much which in turn will affect your health, weight, teaching, etc.,
     
  11. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    I think that the respect of the students has little to do with weight, but more with how the teacher carries his/herself. I know many overweight teachers who the kids love and respect dearly. I would hope my students do not respect me just because I am thin.

    Also, I believe a lot of teachers gain weight during the teaching year. I know I do because it is such a stressful job.
     
  12. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    May 22, 2009

    I think something that a new teacher needs even more than to look good is to take care of themselves mentally and emotionally, make sure you're taking the necessary vitamins (I found that a B complex pill and St John's Wort helped me IMMENSELY), and a great support team or mentor.

    Discipline is also so much more than intimidating students. If you want real respect, you'll find a better way to get it than being tough.
     
  13. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    While I understand many of your concepts, I agree that they are misguided...


    I dropped 12 lbs when I started teaching, but I never sit during a class. I patrol the room at all times and I kneel beside my students when I'm giving one on one. When I'm sick or hurting too much to do that, I do what I can and my students notice the effort. They will go out of there way to help me on the days when it hurts to kneel down in front of a desk.

    I also served in Iraq and my students know that. I can't back them down by fear or intimidation because I'm not that big of a guy, but I do hold their respect and I have heard the biggest, baddest of my students say "Don't Mess with Mr Mutt". I'm really not sure as to why they say that as many of my students could take me down and they know that. The only answer I can come to is one of mutual respect.
     
  14. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

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    No. I am far from what would be considered "in shape." I have a chronic illness that prevents me from being able to do anything more strenuous than walking.

    Harsh tough guy appearance? I'm a chronically underweight blind man. Hardly what I would consider an intimidating appearance. However my students know that I am a no-nonsense kind of teacher from day one. This comes across in the classroom expectations I have and the consequences that come with not following them.

    I think it depends. In some circles, overweight people are judged much more harshly than in other circles. The school and the kinds of students you have play a large factor into how important it is to be in shape as a role model.
     
  15. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    You want to be in the best shape you can be simply because it's what is best for your overall health.

    Exercise, not carrying around excess weight will help you control stress and assist your body's longevity.

    Discipline doesn't come in sizes, I'm 5'2' and have been 110 lbs. (I'm a little over that now.) but kids respected me as much as a big guy.
     
  16. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    And how! I was NEVER a stress eater, but the stress of first-year teaching (and ensuing lack of exercise) led me to gain nearly 20 pounds.

    Quite a few of the teachers at my school have gotten together with a local kickboxing teacher, and we now work off the pounds AND stress in our three-times-a-week kickboxing classes.

    Now that I know what to expect, I can plan ahead to avoid or work around the stress triggers that incite weight gain.
     
  17. Alex2Eng

    Alex2Eng Rookie

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    May 22, 2009

    Awesome a lot more responses! Just what I wanted.

    So overall I'm getting the feeling that weight/body capabilities don't determine teaching skill...which I know.

    BUT aren't you all thinking that if you were in shape and working out a few times a week to begin with you wouldn't have to worry about being stressed out?

    I think being fit and healthy will obviously help maintain a high energy level during teaching. I try to handle stress as best as I can, but it pretty much led me to having about 15 pounds of unwanted fat on my body. The kickboxing idea is awesome! That's a great way to have all the teachers to just not think about school for an hour or so, which I'm sure when you're a teacher a nice break is always needed.
     
  18. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    In a word.......NO


    Just because you work out a few times a week doesn't mean you don't have to worry about the stress factors in your life.



    This statement alone presents a predetermined conclusion that you have. You are not seeking to learn from this discussion, you only seek to confirm an conclusion that you have already reached and are unwilling to listen to the wisdom of those around you.

    I have wasted too much time on this thread and will waste no more.
     
  19. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    When I lost my job in December, I began working out about 4-5 hours a day, simply because there was nothing else to do. And I was still extremely stressed out. Maybe some people work out their stress through exercise. I do not. It's always waiting for me when I get done...
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Wait, you went from "the best shape of your life" to "stereotypical unhealthy American" in two posts.

    Am I in the best shape of my life?? No. I'm 10 pounds heavier than I was when I got married in 1989. I'm 50 and I had a mastectomy in September. I'm facing one more plastic surgery and now surgery on my thyroid, hopefully both this summer. So, no, I'm not in the best shape of my life.

    Am I a very good math teacher? You bet your life. Am I in good enough shape that I can keep up with my 3 elementary school aged kids? Absolutely and then some.

    This year my students have seen me facing surgery and radiation treatments and still keep up with my classwork and home responsibilities. They've seen me wear our homeroom shirt proclaiming "9H HEFFALUMPS" a month after the mastectomy and know that I ddn't run into my room crying, but instead kept living my life. I went to school braless for a week during the radiation (on doctor's orders, obviously. Remember, I'm 50 and the mastectomy was only on one side. ) If they noticed underneath the buttoned blazer, so be it. But I was there and doing my job and dealing with something incredibly unpleasant. One of my kids (well, one that I'm aware of) has a mom who is currently undergoing radiation treatments for breast cancer.

    I'm pretty OK with the idea that I've been a good role model.

    Trust me when I say the stress in my life this year has had nothing to do with school. And that exercise most certainly wouldn't have made any of it go away.

    And as to the fear factor: I'm not comfortable with that either as an educator or as a mom. I want my kids' teachers to command respect, not fear. I don't want any of my kids going to school afraid of a teacher because he's bigger and badder than they are. That sounds like the class bully, not the teacher.
     
  21. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    To look at me, I may be one of those "stereotypical unhealthy Americans" (except I'm not American). I have had a battle with my weight for most of my adult life; I am now working hard on winning that battle for good. My students respect me because of the kind of teacher I am--caring, compassionate, consistent, firm and fair. They know that I will go to the wall for any of them any time, anywhere. They will not respect me any more or any less when I lose the weight that I want to. The students can be judgemental of some teachers, that's true--the ones who are unfair, inconsistent, don't respect their students, and who feel that they are, somehow, superior.
     
  22. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    You are the untypical Canadian? ;) :lol: JK
     
  23. Writer's Block

    Writer's Block Companion

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    Alice, I would have loved to be in your class when I was in school. Even on this site, you command and get respect from everyone. I admire you!

    :hugs:
    Writer's Block
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Thanks so much.

    Of course if you could see the MESS of my house at the moment, you might start to wonder....:eek:

    That gets started in the next 5 minutes.

    But my point wasn't to have a pity party, but to highlight the differerence between the OP's outlook and my own.
     
  25. Writer's Block

    Writer's Block Companion

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    "The mess can always wait..."

    You didn't sound like a pity party at all. I think the people on here who know you understand that you are just stating the facts. You always have the great ideas, give awesome advice, and keep people's chins up!

    I totally understood your outlook and the differences you were pointing out.

    Good job! ;)
     
  26. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Students won't respect you more because you are thin. They may be infatuated with beauty at first, but as the year goes on that will wear off.
    And being big and intimidating does nothing. One of our teachers is a former football player and he is huge and has a big booming voice, you would think the kids would be intimidated. One of my students was yelling at him, so I go and take him and after we get the issue straightened out I jokingly tell him, "Now you wouldn't yell at me, why would you yell at him-he's huge." His response was "I know better than to yell at you Ms. Cheeryteacher, I'm not crazy." The boy is pretty big himself, over 200 lbs. easily. Now I don't intimidate my kids, but I have a lot of expectations for them at all times and I call them out and make them fix it when they aren't living up to even the smallest expectation. They know that I do not play when it comes to classroom management, but also that I care and I'm there to help them through anything.
     
  27. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    That's so true. There are several on this site (Alice, TG, czacza, mmswm to name a few) that command respect from other teachers on the board sight unseen just because they always have good, fair advice. When you see that they have posted you take special notice because whatever they say is going to be good, and even if you disagree they accept it with grace. It's not because they are thin, or intimidating-we would never know through the computer if they were or not. Those qualities transfer to the class. Kids want fair teachers who know what they are talking about and set limits for everyone. If your only classroom management tool is intimidation prepare for a very long stressful year.
     
  28. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    You realize that for all you know I could be a 20 year old male shepherd in Afghanistan, right? :p


    But I know what you mean. And sincere thanks for the compliment.
     
  29. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    (Who, me???)

    What Alice said.
     
  30. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aha.... yet another Afghan shepherd.

    Kindred spirits, regardless of occupation.
     
  31. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    When I grow up, I want to be an Afghan shepherd (metaphor included).
     
  32. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    I don't agree with this at all. Just because a teacher is overweight or obese, doesn't mean their is less respect. I never heard of such a thing.

    What is "the hidden curriculum"?
     
  33. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Herewith a Woof! of agreement. (But pass the flea powder, would you?)
     
  34. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Hidden Curriculum is things you teach unintentionally. So the idea is that if we as role models illustrate that health is unimportant, we're teaching that to our students.

    I buy the argument-- that "do as I say, not what I do" simply doesn't fly.

    I just don't think that working out is a direct route to good classroom management. Or that good teaching is all about weight loss.
     
  35. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    (chiming in)

    If working out helps a teacher feel better, that's likely to translate into greater confidence and effectiveness in the classroom... but a hard body as classroom management aid sounds implausible.
     
  36. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    If you can make fractions interesting and exciting, it doesn't matter what you look like. I read this entire thread, for example, while eating strawberry Twizzlers.
     
  37. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    :lol: upsadaisy... I think I should go get me some of those!
     
  38. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

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    Alex To Eng, I agree that exercising can help with stress coping, but it doesn't necessarily eliminate stressors. It helps us to cope with them because of the hormonal and overall psychological effects of exercise.

    I think that exercise may have an indirect effect on teaching, in that it helps our overall health and when we are healthier we have more energy to do our every day tasks well. However as this thread has probably already illustrated, there is a lot more to health than obesity. Many people suffer from health problems that aren't from any fault of their own, such as having a chronic illness or going through stressful medical procedures.
     
  39. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    lol
     
  40. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Teaching doesn't have to take a toll on you...but working on a personal goal of being fit and healthy is just overall good sense. Eating well and exercise will help you not only physically, but emotionally and mentally.

    I don't think you need to 'instill fear' into students in order to maintain good classroom management. You do want to convey that you are firm- but also friendly and even fun. You don't want the kids to take advantage of you, but you don't have to send that message by being a 'tough guy'...You can build a classroom climate built on mutual understanding and yet still have a no nonsense attitude that the kids will respect.

    I think it's good that you are thinking of teachers as role models- We are- not only physically but in many of the choices that professional educators make in and outside of the classroom send messages about professionalism, good decision making, character and responsibility.
     

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