To improve posture while teaching, stand straight with your feet shoulder wide and flat on the floor. Keep your head straight, your shoulders back, let your arms hang down naturally, and make sure that your body weight is balanced on the balls of both feet.
In theory, this technique works. In reality, it is almost too easy to forget to maintain good posture while teaching. During classes, standing up straight is not always possible. With all that pointing, long periods of standing, bending, and demonstrating, keeping a proper posture is difficult, and back pain is the result of a long day at school.
Here are some ideas of how to focus on better posture while teaching.
Start With Your Shoes
Working in environments like schools can be quite tedious when dress codes are concerned. Some schools even require some form of dress shoes or high heels, neither of which have proved to be in the best interest of the well-being of your feet. These shoes do not provide the support needed by teachers who are on their feet all day.
The best shoes for teaching can be identified easily. When shopping for shoes, choose pairs that come with some fastening, sufficient insole padding, and good arch support. These will help cushion your feet and help you hold yourself upright, while the fastening means you can adjust the shoes to your preference and comfort. Ultimately, high heels are not a great idea for good posture, as they do not allow you to keep your feet flat and poor posture is the result.
Correct Sitting Position
Sitting can be done wrong as it can be done right, and for teachers who teach online and spend most of their day at the desk, it certainly helps to get it right.
The key lies in the position of your mid-back, bottom, and legs. Start your correct posture by sitting with your butt touching the back of the chair and align your hips directly underneath your shoulders — no slouching. To prevent slouching, raise or lower your desk and computer so that your screen is eye level and your head straight.
Place your feet on the ground to evenly distribute your body weight — if your feet do not reach the ground comfortably, you may invest in an ergonomic footrest or footplate. A book or box can serve as a makeshift footplate. Ensure that your heels are directly aligned underneath your knees such that your knees form a 90-degree angle.
Correct Standing Position
As with sitting, teachers spend a great deal of time performing one-person shows for their students in the classroom. In the midst of all that, taking a healthy stance is still important. Start correcting your stance by standing with your feet placed shoulder-width apart on the ground to evenly distribute your body weight to the balls of your feet.
Next, engage your abdominal muscles, which can be done as though you are slightly tucking in your stomach. Your shoulders are a hotbed for knots and tension, so make sure to pull them back and down while your head is kept level and straightforward.
The One-hand Bag Has to Go!
There will be days when you have to bring work home. Asides from that, carrying items such as a laptop and books require a handy carry-all bag. Teachers are fond of opting for the classic teacher tote bag with straps easily slung over one shoulder.
While they might be easy to use, your back and posture are definitely not enjoying the experience. If you want good posture, use your back muscles and get a backpack for better back support. Backpacks evenly distribute your weight across your back. This allows you to maintain your center of gravity and reduce any postural sway.
Stretch a Little
It might be easier said than done, but stretching now and then at intervals will improve your posture and even relieves pain by a dozen miles! With the right combination of stretches every half hour or so, your posture can easily be corrected. Getting some stretches and light exercise before and after work is also highly encouraged.
Take a Breather
Dear educator, the work you do is undoubtedly vital. However, you can only give your best when you are feeling your best. Ensure to give your body the rest it needs by taking much-needed breaks in between activities. You do not need to launch into a full napping session or an entire workout routine. Take a breather, sit down and relax.
A good posture comes with many benefits. Here are just a few:
Bad posture, if left unaddressed, can become a major health concern. Teachers put so much time and energy into their teaching, and that kind of dedication comes with its own hitches. Try to keep that good posture and take care of your body and health. (Seek your own medical advice from your doctor or other health professionals.)