Take it Slow

I’m not a patient person, so when I sprained my ankle and it didn’t get better quickly, I was not happy. First I ignored it. “I’m sure it will be fine.” I told my husband. I iced it. I raised it. I rested it. But after four weeks and only minimal improvement, it became quite evident that the ankle was not going to heal itself.

I made an appointment with my orthopedic doctor. He took X-rays and gave me the good news that nothing looked too concerning. He gave me a more supportive brace and a prescription for physical therapy. “Sprains can take a looooong time to heal,” he said, “Be patient.” I’m trying to be patient. I’ve started physical therapy. I’m doing my exercises morning, noon, and night. It hurts to stretch my ankle. It’s sore when I finish a set of exercises. My ankle’s starting to feel a little better, but it’s still sore and weak. I know I am in for the long haul. I know it will get better if I put in the time and effort to do the exercises and keep off the tennis court. I know I’ll be OK. I just have to “take it slow“.

I’m teaching a remote learning class of first graders this year. The early weeks were so hard, painful really. I felt so out of my element. We were told about our assignment at the last minute, and learning about all of the technology, new curriculum information, new systems, and the lack of any clear cut direction was so hard. All of us had days filled with tears, days when we wanted to walk away, and days when we just didn’t think we could do this anymore. In September, the thought of a whole year of teaching remotely did not make me happy.

Now, in the middle of October, I’m limping along. I’m finally beginning to find some sort of rhythm to the day. I’ll be honest, the rhythm is often interrupted by more testing mandates and changes in procedures, or a student who still struggles to find Google Classroom, but it’s feeling better than it felt a month ago. I’m trying to do the work; be prepared, engage students, meet their various needs, meet with my grade level team, complete the necessary assessments and data collection, and keep in touch with my families. I’m putting in the time and effort. Some days are better than others. I’m trying to tell myself that we’ll be OK. I just have to “take it slow”.

6 thoughts on “Take it Slow”

  1. Slow and steady wins the race — that’s what comes to mind – although we know we are not out to “win” anything, nor are we racing – so maybe it’s slow, steady, and celebrate each step — yes that’s it! For your completely unexpected position as teacher as well as your healing ankle! Here’s to you, you are a true rockstar!

  2. I love the physicality of this metaphor. As with so many things, I find it easier to be gentle with my physical self than my mental self. If only we were all aware that we are teaching with a sprained ankle, maybe we could grant ourselves a little space and grace. Take it slow – this, too, will pass (and heal).

  3. Yes, it’s that same sense of impatience in both areas. It’s particularly at these milestone times (progress reports and benchmarks, etc.) that it’s a struggle to keep reminding ourselves that it takes patience (blinders?) and acknowledgment that we are not quite whole right now. But we show up for PT. I love the line that we are limping along. That’s better than not moving!

  4. Sometimes challenges keep piling up (we shall forever remember 2020 as the example). I broke my foot in February and thought, in despair at that moment, that I didn’t have time for it, couldn’t take one thing more. Then COVID hit … we have no choice but to accept the slowing down when life takes such sharp turns. My heart is with you as you limp along, truly-! I admire your wisdom and the grace you’re giving yourself as you find a rhythm in the days. Continued strength and healing to you.

  5. I enjoyed your post — and saw my own impatience in it! Even as we’re limping along, we have to remind ourselves that “forward is forward.”

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