I did something Monday that made me feel like I was back at work. It gave me confidence which I have been lacking as I prepare to return to work soon after a very long time off. I was nervous how this would go but I think it went ok. And it felt good to sort of be back even if I wasn’t really at work. I’ll explain.
Chase’s teacher allows parents to do something for their child’s birthday. Parents could read a book, play a trivia game about their child, do an indoor or outdoor game, or send in party favors.
To break things up sometimes when I was training the athletes at Mercer I would do relay races or animal crawls which could be a fun but challenging workout. I decided to try that with third graders, using lightweight balls instead of medicine balls and picking fun and easy crawls and walks for the kids to do (frog jump, penguin walk, etc) instead of hard and challenging crawls like I do with our athletes. I emailed the teacher the idea which she said she loved and I anxiously prepared the plan.
Doing conditioning for the sports teams I worked with at Mercer was very much like teaching. I would prepare my lesson or training for the day. I would often have to make adjustments depending on the shape of the athletes, how they handled what I had prepared (was it too hard or too easy), the weather, the space we have to work with it and just observation of whether what I had planned was working.
With Chase’s class, we did an over/under and side to side relays with balls to start. Then we did several animal crawls and hops which the kids seemed to enjoy. We ended with me hiding little footballs with the students’ names on them so it was like an Easter egg hunt to find your ball in the grass field and keep as a party favor.
I also found little foam party fingers at the party store to give the students. As I walked around passing out the foam fingers I told the class, here’s one more gift because you’re all #1 which is what the fingers said and I added, “you can use these fingers to cheer on the Eagles tonight during Monday night football.” With half the class being Giants fans this got some boos and comments which was fun. I also learned his teacher is a Cowboys fan (yikes!!). I understand being a Giants fan based on location but Cowboys…I don’t get it!
Anyway, I had fun. The lesson or games didn’t go quite as I planned but I adjusted and changed things up as we went and in the end it all worked out. I was so nervous since it’s been so long since I’ve done conditioning with my teams. And I was so worried how it would go working with third graders instead of college athletes.
But I had to remind myself I know what I’m doing. I got a great foundation in teaching from The College of New Jersey and can handle adapting plans as I’ve done when I work with the teams at MCCC or teaching health classes there.
And most importantly I had to remind myself that no matter how it goes, Chase will be glad I came to do something for his birthday celebration. I just didn’t want to embarrass him and I don’t think I did.
I gained confidence that I still remember how to lead a team and make adjustments. I can go up in front of a group I don’t know and get their attention and carry out a lesson. While it wasn’t quite like working with a college sports team, it was a small step that helped me gain some confidence. And my recovery and return to work is all about one step at a time. This was one step I’m glad I took.
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