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Foot Care

7 Sep

It’s hard to explain to non-educators how your feet ache the first week back at school. Despite comfortable shoes with excellent support, my feet throbbed after my first full day of pre-service week.

Maybe it’s because I go barefoot in the house all summer. Maybe it’s because a concrete floor lies under my classroom’ thin carpet. Regardless, my feet were throbbing Monday afternoon when, after walking Richard to the park, I finally took my shoes off.

As I puttered, barefoot, in the kitchen, I thought back to my PHL 100 Into to Philosophy class at the University of Toronto. It was a survey class intended to introduce philosophy neophytes to some of the biggies: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Bentham, Nietzsche. It was taught by two professors, one teaching the Ancients, the other teaching the Moderns.

On the first day of the second half of the class, I sat in the lecture hall like my classmates, awaiting the arrival of the new professor who’s name I no longer remember. What I do remember is her entrance. The entrance was at the back of the hall. As we sat there, a small woman in a black robe descended the stairs towards the lectern on the stage.

The hall was part of Trinity College. U of T is set up like the British College system with small colleges within the larger university. You could take classes at any college, but each had their own traditions and one of Trinity’s was the black gown that students had to wear to dinner. This professor, attached to Trinity, also felt she should wear it to teach.

It wasn’t the gown that got our attention, however. She had a mop of grey hair reminiscent of Albert Einstein and, as there was no handrail, she ran her hand along the wall as she descended the stairs. As intriguing as this was, it was her feet that grabbed my attention. She wore fluffy bedroom slippers.My memory of this professor – who was rather brilliant – sparked an idea. After dinner I packed a pair of Crocs in my school bag.

For the rest of the week, after the morning meetings, teachers had time to work in our classrooms. Each day, when the time arrived to work in my classroom, I removed my shoes and donned my Crocs. My feet hurt less when I got home. Perhaps it was the Crocs, perhaps I was just growing accustomed to being back at work. in any case, I left the Crocs at school, just in case I need them once the teaching starts.

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