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June 1, 2018
Vol. 75
No. 9

Let's Get Physical

    Stories and advice from school veterans on maintaining your spirit and your perspective in a challenging profession.

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    School Culture
      Teachers are always moving. Rarely do I see a teacher sitting for long periods of time.
      I love that teaching keeps me on my toes, but I also know I need to stay moving outside the school building as well. So I do whatever I can to be physically active at least four days a week.
      Twice a week for the last four years I've been playing capoeira, a Brazilian martial art and dance, for 90 minutes. Spending time with my capoeira family not only allows me to get a good workout, but it helps me build essential peer relationships outside of school and connect to my historical and cultural roots.
      Being a student in my capoeira class also gives me a weekly reminder of what it's like to be in my students' shoes. When I need my Contra Mestre (teacher) to model a move for me more than once, I'm reminded that everyone doesn't learn at the same pace. When another student teaches me a particular technique, I remember that learning from peers is valuable. I believe I am a more compassionate English teacher because of these reminders.
      When I'm not playing capoeira, I'm swimming, running, riding my bike, boxing, or taking a dance or yoga class. I'm often depleted at the end of the day and reluctant to put on my workout clothes, but I persist because that feeling at the end of a workout is always worth it. It also helps to remind me that while the work of teaching can be overwhelming at times, it's not all of who I am. Being physically active by myself or in community reminds me that I am a teacher and so much more.

      Figure

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      Geneviève DeBose Akinnagbe (center) flexes her muscles with her fellow capoeira players. Photo courtesy of Geneviève Debose Akinnagbe

      Author bio coming soon.

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