This semester my schedule is a bit unique for a high school teacher. In Ontario, a full-time high school teacher teachers 3 out of 4 periods with the 4th period as ‘prep’. But this semester my schedule is as follows:
Period 1 – Photography
Period 2 – Prep
Lunch – Yearbook Class
Period 3 – Lunch/extra prep because of teaching at lunch all year
Period 4 – Online Period
So rather than being in front of students all day long – I’m really only ‘teaching’ in front of the class for 1 period a day. Yearbook involves students but it is more like a working period, not actual teaching. In the afternoon, I am sitting at my desk for about three hours. In the past few weeks after starting this schedule – I have learned that there is no way I could tolerate a desk job. I’m definitely sitting too much and spending way too much time in front of the computer. After only a few short weeks of being on this schedule, I’ve had to implement a few changes to my daily routine:
#1 Take frequent breaks during desk hours
Sometimes this means taking my lunch outside and running for 40 minutes. But it can also mean making sure I just get up and walk around the school/go to the printer or visit a classroom to take photos
#2 Watch my posture
One night I woke up at 4am in so much pain and could barely get out of bed. Turns out I tweaked my neck – this was a wake up call that I need to not be hunched over at my desk for hours at a time. I’ve adjusted my desk and chair and now being mindful of my neck/head position. I keep my posture straight and tall and remind myself to not slouch over.
#3 Limit computer time after school
I am getting a bit used to not working at all in the evening. Some days this is not possible but most days I am fine closing the computer at 3:30 and leaving it at school. After work I concentrate on housework, cooking or going for a run
#4 Get outside!
I teach at lunch, and both my classroom and office are in windowless rooms. During the hard part of the winter when the sun sets so early, I felt a bit off and I believe it was because I was barely getting any sunlight on me. I try to take my lunch fully outside (aka go for a lunch-run) at least once per week. Once the weather improves, I’m going to try and get out for even 5-10 minutes. Need to escape the cave!
it isn’t all bad – Luckily being at a desk all day means that I always have access to food and water and (even better) on some days, I change into my sweats/athletic gear right after lunch. I can even listen to music, although not when I’m marking as it can be distracting.
What about you – how do you survive working at a desk all day if you are a desk-job person?