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Ergonomics and Stretching in the Classroom

Ergonomics and Teacher Productivity

How much time do you spend at your desk? Do you have a comfortable chair? I remember when the idea of ergonomics was first introduced to me at Texas Instruments. A safety inspector came to each of our desks and made sure that our chairs were large enough and designed to create a more comfortable work space. When your chair and desk are not setup correctly you have a higher risk of for pain and other ailments.

  1. Elbows should be above the desk and 90–110 degrees
  2. Have your shoulders relaxed instead of being hunched over
  3. Your wrists should be aligned with your forearms
  4. Position your hips at 90 degrees when seated
  5. Place your feet flat on the ground or on a footrest
  6. Your head should be upright with your ears aligned with your shoulders
  7. Ensure your eyes are looking at the top third of the screen
  8. Your seat length should be enough to support your thighs
  9. Place your backrest at 90–110 degrees, with the lumbar support in line with your lower back
  10. The G and H keys on the keyboard should be aligned with your nose, and your grip around your mouse should be loose
  11. A laptop riser may be necessary, with the addition of an external keyboard and mouse

“After prolonged sitting the body becomes restless in the attempt to find a more comfortable position. Unfortunately, in schools restlessness may be interpreted as unacceptable behavior which disturbs the teaching process in the classroom. It may not be interpreted as the biological and biomechanical needs of the body. The human body is designed, not to remain still, but to move about. There is no one position – sitting, standing or lying – which is comfortable and painless after a prolonged period of time. Also, there is not a chair or table we use which, after some time, does not initiate body fatigue. Sitting in inappropriate designed school furniture only intensifies the discomfort.” – MityBilt

Equipping Teachers for Success

At iteach our goal is to equip teachers to become the best teachers. Creating a classroom environment that is comfortable for students is not always possible. Student desks are standardized and so we have to work within the parameters we are given. Stretching and breaks is a great way to allow students to relieve restlessness and to help them regain focus.

Yoga in the Classroom

This short video will show you some simple easy poses to ground not only yourself but your students. As a large man, I’m 6′ 5″ and I weigh 320 pounds, I started doing yoga to help with back pain and core strength. I have now taken over 350 classes of hot yoga and it has helped my back pain immensely, in fact, I rarely have back pain and if I do it is normally the result of incorrect activity or because I haven’t been doing yoga like I should.

What I really like about yoga is how it has grounded me and helped me to relieve stress in my life. When I enter the yoga studio the teacher always emphasizes at the beginning of class to “Set Your Intention”. It may be that your intention for that particular class is to just be present, at other times my goal is to push myself to my physical limit and get in a really good workout. Either option is great, because that space and time is a bit of self care for me.

How often do you take the time to set your intention for the day? I know that for me my life is so hectic that I often just hurl myeslf into my day with a giant list of tasks and I often feel like I’m just playing catch up all the time. However, I make the for yoga because my health and mental well being are critical to my overall success.

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