Sunday, January 20, 2013
Okay, I loved all the suggestions about what to do when the kids comment on my 'waddle" when I go out and substitute teach. So many great ideas about ways to make it a teaching moment, to teach the children empathy and concern, and help them see that pointing out oddities in others is not the right thing to do. I plan to try this the next time I face the situation.
I also think that perhaps I over-reacted. After all, they are young elementary school children, they are just curious. I didn't get a single comment from the kindergarten classroom I subbed in last Friday afternoon. I noticed one little girl staring intently as my neck however, and I will have to admit, it was a relief when she didn't return to our classroom after they left for their science class. I assumed she was one of the students who was just in that room for math, as several other students were. Still, it was a relief not to have to answer the question I knew would be coming.
I got to thinking about how other people who are not exactly 100% perfect, and are teachers, confront this situation. My very own sister-in-law, who is lovely and slender, is a teacher. She has a marked limp from a hip condition she was born with, I believe she was born without hip sockets. My husband has told me that her childhood doctors told their parents that she would be in a wheelchair by the time she was in high school, but it never happened. She kept her weight down and I know she works hard at keeping the pounds off, because she has lived with us a summer or two while she got her master's degree, and I noticed her eating habits. She knew if she let her weight get too heavy, she would lose the ability the walk. More recently, she has looked into surgery, since they do hip replacements now, but her doctor advised her not to have surgery until she couldn't walk anymore, and right now, she is doing great. She is 58 years old, walks fine, rides a bike, and is still as slender as ever! She is also still teaching. I wonder how she has handled the comments over the years. You know she has had plenty of them. And I had comments from others on my blogs who are teachers, who were heavy at one point. They had great suggestions on ways to handle the kid's comments.
I guess what bothered me more than anything was that I didn't try teaching until I lost weight, because I feared the comments and teasing, and then when I thought I looked normal enough to try it, I still got the comments. This meant to me that I still do not look normal. It was just disappointing. It's funny I don't mind it when the kids ask me how old I am. They know I'm older, they can tell by looking at me, and for some reason that doesn't bother me. But the darned "waddle", the remnants of all the years of morbid obesity, cannot be covered up, and it is evidently the first thing people see when they meet me.
I am not going to let this stop me from substitute teaching though. I worked too hard to get here. I am loving the freedom I have now, to be able to pursue any activity I want, no longer limited by my obesity. I just picked up a bicycle my daughter-in-law gave me. It was her bike when she was 13, but her legs quickly grew too long for it, (she has beautiful long legs!) and she had to get a bigger bike. Since my legs are still short (and stubby), I think it will be a perfect fit for me, and even though the bike is over 15 years old, it's like NEW! Even the tires are still okay! I can't wait to get out there when it's a little nicer weather, and RIDE! It's a girl's bike so hopefully I will be able to get on and off more easily. My dad's old bike was really nice, he got a good bike, but it was so hard to get my poor arthritic knees to bend enough to get over that boy's bar on it. I crashed more than once trying to get off that bike!