Sunday Salon: Back to School; Back to Back Pain

This morning I dreamed by colleagues and I were trying to hash out a lesson plan about St. Jeremy.  We had not arrived at a solid lesson plan by the time I woke up, but we were all in agreement that we should include St. Jeremy in our unit on Medieval Europe.  As always, there was a great deal of debate over how much religion we should include in our history class, but I held fast to the position that one cannot understand Medieval Europe, or really any culture in human history, without a thorough understanding of religions role in the culture.

So first thing this morning, I went to Wikipedia to look up St. Jeremy.  Turns out there was a St. Jeremy.  He is one of St Elias’s four companions.  There five early Christian martyrs visited Christians who had been condemned to a life of slavery in the  quarries of Egypt by then Roman emperor Maximinus.  Accused of being Christians themselves they were tortured and beheaded in A.D. 309.

You’re supposed to have anxiety dreams before the first day of school, not during the weekend after it, but there you are.

School started this week; so far things look pretty good.  I don’t see any red flags among any of the students in my three classes at this point.  A bit of minor rambunctiousness, but that’s to be expected and is usually part of the fun.  Of the three the class with the most potential for behavior issues is also the nicest group of kids.  So things should be good.

The new superintendent has already paid a visit to the school.  The previous one visited the school three times in four years, so this one is already on track to break her record.  We have 14 campuses in my district.  (I think, please don’t hold me to that.) The new guy seems nice enough and comes highly recommended by everyone I know who knows him.  I’m reserving judgement but I’m keeping an open mind.  Let’s hope the new superintendent is doing the same.

The only real downside to starting up the school year this time around, beside loss of reading time which may keep me from completing the 20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge, has been the return of my back pain.   Last year, after 15 years of the same commute, I developed several pains which were cured after my physical therapist gave me a set of exercises to do each day.  I was pain-free for the last three months of school as well as all summer.

But after just three days of commuting, all the pain came back in spades.  So, I’m doing my exercises again and starting to get better.

I’ve also, so of, started doing Tai Chi.  I attended a demonstration of Tai Chi as part of a program for teachers at Standford.  I’ve been going to semi-monthly seminars on Asia with a couple of colleagues at Stanford’s SPICE program.  One of the meetings included a demonstration of Tai Chi which we all really enjoyed doing.  I’ve been following a couple of You Tube Tai Chi videos several times a week this summer while I look for a real life group I can join.  It’s a lot harder to find one than I thought it would be in the Bay Area.

Finally, I learned how to make a new book this week.  Though it was only offered on the evening of the first day of school, I took a class on how to make a miniature pop-up theatre book at the San Francisco Center of the Book.  I thought the product was so cool, as did my colleagues, that I’m going to adapt it for use with our unit on the decline of Rome this week.  Imagine the sample book, pictured above, featuring Roman columns instead of curtain shapes, and the illustrations featuring images of Roman legacies instead of fish or flowers.  That’s our goal.  I’m making a new template for the students to use today.

11 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Back to School; Back to Back Pain

  1. Nice account of the first week back at school. I love the pop up books and your plans to use them in class. You have very lucky students.

    I work for a community college in Southern Calif and Fall term starts tomorrow. Always a big day. I work in IT so work year round but the first day still impacts us quite a bit. Although the work leading up to it this year has been so grueling, I cannot imagine Monday will be worse.

    1. Best of luck with your first day. I’m looking forward to trying out the pop-up books later this week. I like them but cutting, folding and gluing with 28 7th graders is much more of a challenge than you’d think it would be.

  2. Sorry to hear about your back pain. Do you drive to work or use other transportation? Makes me wonder about why the commute itself seems to be the source of your problem. Stressful commute?

    1. I have to drive, due to where I live and work and the hours I keep. I got the pain because I’m 6′ 5″ tall and drove a midsize car that was really 15% too small for me. Now I have a care with a much bigger interior, but sitting in the driver’s seat with my arm on the rest like I do for 90 minutes a day has set off my pains. I’m feeling much better with two days of exercises by the way.

  3. The books are gorgeous!

    I was wondering the same thing, about your commute. I’ve been thinking of try tai chi, because I have some back issues from moving boxes at work (archives boxes). I haven’t gotten as far as looking for classes though.

    1. I did not make the books pictured above, I confess. Mine is much more amateurish. I’ve had a good time following the tai chi videos on You Tube. I’m probably not doing it right, but I’m having fun.

  4. Back pain sucks. I was trying yoga this summer and that helped but now with school in session it’s hard to find the time. Need to work on that. Enjoy the Tai Chi!

    1. I tried yoga a couple of years back, but I felt silly doing it. I kept falling over, basically. I have to say, seeing the physical therapist was the best thing I did. The exercises he gave me are neither yoga or tai chi, but they really do work.

      I’m still enjoying the tai chi, though. It’s a lot harder to do than you might think.

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