This is my response to the reflective task Exploring your context 1 from Sandy Millin’s ELT Playbook 1.
The task – Going for a walk
In this task, Sandy asks teachers to go for a walk, somewhere we haven’t been before preferably, and take a few moments to take in what it is we see, feel, experience, etc. Now, considering I am in full lockdown, going for a walk to a new exotic place in the city or along the river isn’t exactly possible (I don’t particularly fancy getting COVID-19 or being arrested); this being said, I do have a dog, so I am allowed out to walk him and let him ‘hacer sus necesidades’ – Spanish for, ‘go to the toilet’. Every morning I take my big boy, Magnus, to a park that’s about three hundred metres from my house. Not too far as he is old and has a very bad leg, but far enough that he gets a walk and can find some green patches in which to roll around.
My morning walks – Coronavirus-style
The last few mornings, I’ve really tried to focus on taking a few deep breaths, listening to what’s around, and seeing how the city has changed during this lockdown period. From where I live to the park, I need to walk along what is normally a busy road – now the only thing I can see and hear are police cars (I’ve even been stopped and been asked where I was going, where I live, etc.) or the few buses that occasionally go by carrying usually only the bus driver. When I get to the park, I see the usual people there with their dogs, although the usual chattiness of the park is non-existent (for obvious reasons). The trees have started to blossom and nature has somewhat taken over the park just that little more as the council has not been to mow the lawns, trim the branches, etc. It really is quite beautiful. When Magnus has had enough, we head back home. The last few mornings I’ve made an effort to look up at the apartments along the road. Outside people’s windows I see posters made by children that read ‘mequedoencasa’ or ‘todosaldrabien’, the Spanish equivalents of I’m staying home and Everything will be alright. The last few times we have arrived at our apartment, someone from the building has been passing by, and so we’ve said a little hello and then slid around them politely. Once inside, a thorough washing of the hands takes place and then it’s work time.
What did you get out of it?
Taking the time to be a bit more reflective about my walks has made me realise a few things:
- I’ve taken the ability to walk outside with my dog for granted for a very long time.
- Sometimes I rush myself and Magnus when we are walking around. Even before COVID-19 began, I can still remember that I always felt the need to rush back home to start work and get ready for the day. I really need to learn to relax and enjoy these moments.
- Being locked inside for such a long time can have significant effects on people’s well-being, if they are not motivated to keep active, or they are alone.
- I look forward to being able to go for longer walks without the fear of catching a virus or being questioned by local police!
Keeping active during quarantine
So, not everyone is lucky/unlucky enough (it’s all a matter of perspective) to have a dog that needs to be taken out for regular walks. However, this does not mean that our need to stay active is removed. I thought I’d finish this reflective task by listing some ways that I am staying active during the quarantine.
- Daily workouts – I try to at least get a 30-minute work out in every day. It’s not always easy, however it is possible. Some ideas for quick workouts include:
- Acroyoga – For those of you with a partner or someone else in the house. Great fun and gives you a good workout as well!
What about you? How are you staying active? I would love to hear your ideas!