Last week, The Enterprise-Tocsin featured a photo on the front page of several children at one of our local elementary schools.
They were celebrating their 100th day of school by dressing up like they were 100 years old.
Yours truly posed the headline question, “who knew 100 days of school could add so many years?”
School doesn’t exactly have that effect on the kids, but for those who teach, the school year can be mighty taxing.
When I first applied for my teacher’s license back in 2011, I weighed in at about 195 pounds. I ran five-to-six miles a day, and I never felt any aches and pains in my body, which I credited mostly to my non-weightlifting regimen.
I was rarely sick in my twenties, and even if I did catch the occasional cold, I would still run five or six miles right through it. I didn’t really know what a sick day was.
I was 29 years old, and I didn’t feel or look a day over 20. Even some of the high schoolers I was teaching remarked that I looked like I had just left college.
One-hundred days later, they were telling a different story.
By February I had contracted every possible airborne disease that high school kids can drag with them into a school.
Every time I got shed of one bug, I was hit with another.
The toll the year was taking on me really didn’t sink in until I was teaching a history lesson sometime during the second half of the school year.
If you’ve never taught school, or you just aren’t around teenagers a lot, there’s one thing you should know. They will say anything that comes to their minds – no matter the setting or interruption - and nine times out of 10 what they say is the sad truth.
I was rolling along with my lesson, coughing from a bout of bronchitis, when one of my students abruptly shouted, “man, Mr. Davis put on some weight!”
Glancing down at a gut that was 20 pounds heavier than it was just five months prior I responded, “well, I guess I have.”
On the advice of the health teacher, I paid a visit to the emergency room to have the bronchitis looked at. The doctor said it was just short of becoming pneumonia.
As the months turned into minutes, my afternoon jogs dropped in speed and distance. I was a solid three-to-four mile a day guy. It’s not easy running five or six with 20 extra pounds.
That same year, I began to develop neck and back pains that I had never experienced before.
They are still with me to this day.
For the kids, 100 days of school will only make them 100 days older.
For a teacher, that time period can produce wrinkles and gray hair it takes others decades to acquire.