Shoes–the key to teaching

At the new teacher workshop at our foreign language convention, I had a great time presenting ‘Circling With Pictures’ to some first-year and pre-service teachers.  They were worried about classroom management, motivating the kids, making errors in speaking their second languages…all things I still worry about after 35 years. 

I looked around during the presentations and noticed…shoes.  There I was in my sensible supportive loafers.  My co-presenter of the same age–sensible, supportive Mary Janes.  My much younger colleagues with 4-10 years of experience, the same: comfortable, supportive shoes. Some with a higher cute quotient than others, but all low-heeled, all day shoes.  The new teachers were wearing cute shoes.  Cute ballerina flats (no support).  Adorable kitten heels.  Even some sexy heels. 

I still own cute shoes.  I have some wonderful shiny red high heels.  Guy Lomardo shoes, my mom calls them.  I take them out of the box and admire them.   But I get up every morning and put on my sensible,  black comfort shoes and teach all day.  I wanted to tell the new teachers that I’d taught all day, drove to the conference and was still standing, presenting to them and working the conference, standing around a tall table laughing and talking with my friends after the session until 11 PM.  Probably because of the shoes.

So, my new, young teacher friends–buy comfotable shoes.  You will have much better management if you can stand and walk around all day.  You will be able to deal with the nonsense without screaming or using sarcasm if your feet don’t hurt.  You will survive the days when you take them to the computer lab and the server is down if you can walk briskly there and back without your legs aching.  Trust me.  You’ll be a better teacher if you give up the beautiful shoes. Sigh.

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