Adjusting to the Challenges of a New School Year

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by Karen Del Vecchio |

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It’s that time of year again! Summer just flew by, and before I knew it, I was back at work, which for me is school. As a high school history teacher and college counselor, my downtime is minimal when classes are in session. When students recently returned, we were off to the races.

Every year, I struggle a bit to adjust to the new schedule. I try to catch up on sleep during the summer, although there’s debate about whether that’s actually possible from a biological standpoint. Personally, I do find that the extra sleep I get in the summer helps me feel better, but within a few weeks of going back to school, I’m often exhausted again. Chronic fatigue is definitely the first thing I would change about having Ehlers-Danlos syndrome if I had a magic wand.

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One thing that’s different for me this year is the amount of time I’m teaching. Last year, I was thrown into teaching a class on U.S. history when another teacher retired unexpectedly because of the pandemic. While that made for a pretty stressful year, I love history and actually had a lot of fun teaching it, so I asked to continue this year.

I was supposed to teach two classes this year, but so many students registered for the course that we had to offer three. That means that for about half of the day, I’m on my feet teaching, while the other half I’m at my desk doing college counseling work and meeting with students.

Everyone with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is different, and while standing might be a problem for some, it’s actually good for me. I do better with more movement and physical activity, and it’s one of the ways I manage pain. If I stay seated too long, I become really stiff, which makes it hard for me to get moving again. As long as I have on comfortable shoes, I’m usually better off if I’m on my feet, with breaks here and there.

I have no idea what this year will bring at school. While I know everyone was hoping it would be more normal than last year, there’s certainly a lot of concern about the delta variant surging just as schools are opening.

Last year, my school managed to stay open for in-person classes after implementing several rules and COVID-19 mitigation efforts, and I’m hopeful we can do the same this year. I’m thankful to be vaccinated and to work in a place that takes the pandemic seriously.

Who knows what this school year will bring. Whatever happens, we’re on our way!

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Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.

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