Teaching is exhausting – Fact!

Five, one hour lessons of trying to organise, control, differentiate, perform and cajole leaves you mentally frazzled. It’s no joke. The problem is what teachers then do is reach for immediate energy in the shape of high carbohydrate fillers. These snacks at break time, between lessons, and at lunchtimes and jam (excuse the term) packed with simple or complex sugars. There are always biscuits, chocolate or cake (it’s always someone’s birthday) being passed around the staff room not to mention the energy drink consumed before class 11F! But this can all be justified because teachers are expending high amounts of energy in the classroom – WRONG!

Here is my experience – and it was life changing.


I recently bought a fitbit watch ( see above). Its a fancy watch that acts as a pedometer and heart rate monitor. I read a bit around the how many steps I should be doing in a day and most evidence was pointing me towards 10,000 steps a day. So I set this as my target and set about my day.


Being a PE teacher my lessons revolved around teaching on the fields in the grounds of the school. It’s a fair walk to the fields, match this with the movement required to structure the lessons or referee the matches, I was clocking steps like they were going out of fashion! I’d easily clocked up 10,000 by the end of the school day and I still had extra curricular to follow and my club coaching in the evening. By the end of my first day I had clocked up in excess of 17,000 steps. This was going to be easy!


This day was totally different to my first day and involved classroom based lessons. I had four lessons that were classroom based and a free lesson to do my planning. It was at the end of the school day when I looked at the number of steps that I had done that it struck me how little I had moved. I had only done 3,500 steps. Yet I was mentally exhausted. I was now reaching for the fast release energy foods. When I got home I played with my kids. At 9 pm I had still only done 7,500 steps. I had to force myself to go out for a walk so I would feel that buzzing on my wrist that told me I had achieved my goal of 10,000 steps.

It made me sit up and think that this is what my colleagues are doing every day. They don’t have to go to the fields and teach. They are confined to their classrooms day in day out. I don’t know what their lifestyle is like after school but I do know that they are leading a non-active lifestyle between 8:30 am and 3:05 pm and eating the amount of calories a triathlon athlete would need in the run up to competition.

No wonder many teachers have weight concerns.