Even though elementary school teachers and high school teachers wear similar types of shoes, I doubt this sort of thing would happen to a high school teacher. It’s a challenge sometimes to find professional-looking shoes that have the support and durability one needs to be on their feet most of the day. Spongy, supportive tennis shoes do not pair well with a skirt and blouse.
A particular deep-brown, almost sporty pair of Merrells quickly became a favorite pair of shoes. They went well with khakis and slacks, and they supported my feet all day.
Once upon a time, my feet were getting roasty on a not-quite-spring day in my second-grade classroom. I generally wanted students to keep their shoes on, just in case, so I kept mine on, too. I sweated it out for awhile that day, but it became unbearable. My feet just needed some air!
I slipped my shoes off near the trash can at my desk. When a student commented on my shoes being off, I told the class they could remove their shoes for a bit, too. We went about our work.
Anna beckoned me over. Her tummy hurt. I empathized and went through the routine: Do you need to use the bathroom? Do you need a drink of water? Did you eat lunch? Are you hungry? All of these we dutifully checked off, in hopes she’d improve, that it was a fluke. Let’s wait a bit and see if it gets any better, okay? You let me know if it doesn’t get better! I kept my eye on her.
Anna wasn’t improving.
Suddenly, she got up and told me she felt like throwing up. “To the trash can!” I implored, as I moved toward her. She was such a sweet girl, always doing her best and being polite and respectful. I know she didn’t mean to miss the can. . .
I really miss those shoes.
Anna was soon well and back in class again. And we all kept our shoes on.
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*Originally posted June 23, 2020.