Several years ago, I suffered a slipped disk which was very painful for several months. I found myself unable to sit comfortably and used a standing desk for grading papers, posting grades, and making lesson plans (after school work that I had previously sat down to complete). I also purchased a wheeled bag to replace my bags filled with papers, my computer, and books that I had been slinging over my shoulders each day as I left school. Since that time, I've been on a mission to convince other teachers to use wheeled bags rather than carrying bags on their shoulders.
A couple of weeks ago, I stopped a young teacher (at least 30 years my junior) in the hallway with the words, "You're carrying too much weight." I followed up my comment by encouraging her to get a roller bag so that she wouldn't strain her back. The next morning her carpool buddy shared with me that this teacher was appalled that I would comment that she was carrying too much weight. I think she must have missed the rest of my advice since she thought I was commenting on her body weight. It looks like I should rephrase this advice that I hand out each time I see a colleague schlepping heavy shoulder bags back and forth. My new advice, "Lighten your load, ladies!"
On the first day of February I tripped on an electrical cord connected to the cart that holds my document camera. As I stumbled across the classroom trying to extricate my foot from the cord, I kept thinking, "I'm going to pull the document camera off the cart and break it." Luckily the cord pulled free from the camera. When I finally landed on all fours, my students went quickly to the office and returned with the nurse, a wheelchair, and ice. It was good to see their first aid instruction in health put to good use as they responded quickly and appropriately. I was sent home with orders to stay off my feet, keep ice on my bruised knee, and take Advil for the swelling. Luckily my daughter was home so I received her TLC and the benefit of her medical knowledge as a PA in training. When I returned to school on Monday, my first task of the morning was to reposition my cart so that the cords were not on the outside edge where I stand all the time. And so because of my recent accident, I add another piece of safety advice to my fellow teachers, "Check your cords, colleagues. "