Tag Archives: Little Engine that Could

I am a Slug aka The Little Engine That Could

More than one way to wear a banana slug

More than one way to wear a banana slug

May 7, 2014

It is Teacher Appreciation Week. I am finishing up my 17th year in this profession. Currently, I am piloting a new CA State program called Transitional Kindergarten. I have 24 students who start out the year at age 4 and end up turning 5 a few months into school. It is a full-day program ( 8:20-2:20) and I am the only adult in the classroom. It makes for a wild and crazy time when we do hands on projects, which is everyday. You adapt and just go with it.

There are 10 teaching days left for the school year. The pressure has been on these past two weeks. EVERYTHING comes due at once. EVERYTHING has to be done at once. Assessments, projects, end of the year family night (my students are performing an Opera…yes…an Opera…well…a whole lot of singing to a story), report cards entry, packing up the classroom… And then there are the other things that occur outside of school that impacts my life.

Did I mention training and buying and preparing and cost/ rating comparison of items being purchased for the Camino?

Which brings me to some observations that I have made over the course of wrapping up the school year and prepping for my pilgrimage.

First off, the opera my students are performing is based on the book “The Little Engine That Could.” It is one of my favorite childhood books and the whole story is about not giving up even when the odds are against you. Perseverance even when others believe you cannot do it. Have faith in yourself and keep chugging along.

That describes me in a nutshell.

I have been told by a couple of concerned, well- meaning individuals that I shouldn’t do the Camino as they fear for my health. In fact one person suggested that I might be too large to do this. Basically, she said I was fat and that I might want to lose weight before attempting this 500 mile pilgrimage.


Why yes I am overweight. I also am still walking around daily, chasing 5 yr old students, dancing, singing and running around with them. Granted I’m not carrying a 12 lb pack everyday doing this, but believe you me, my knees get a workout daily.

And I am working out 3 times a week doing Cross- Fit and walking about 5 miles with my 10 lb pack a couple of times a week. And if I can fit it in, I head down to Disneyland and walk the park. All part of getting my body conditioned to walking on pavement. Getting my tendons and joints in well oiled condition.
I know this will be a physical challenge, but I’m in no race. I will plug along slow and steady.

Being overweight doesn’t mean that you are chained to your couch watching TV, stuffing your face with ice cream and waiting for the weight to magically fall off.
Contrary to the majority of the clothing manufactures geared towards hikers, fat people do hike and climb and swim and kayak and camp and fly fish and hunt and ride a bike and surf and yes, we can and do yoga along with working out.

But, good luck with finding clothes that fit, are cute, are inexpensive and do not come from the men’s department when you are an overweight outdoor type of woman.

It’s like we don’t exist. So we adapt. Persevere and keep an eye out for items of clothing that will work for the type of outdoor activity we choose to do.

And that brings me back to the Opera my students are performing. The Little Engine sings the words, “I think I can! I think I can! I’ll try, try, try, ‘ cause I think I can! ( The Little Engine That Could Sing- by Carol Kaplan- Lass & Janet Hill) And yes, it was difficult pulling all those cars filled with toys and good food for the little boys and girls who live on the other side of the mountain, but in the end, the Little Train was successful in spite of the odds.

Yup…that describes my attitude in a nutshell. Stay tuned as I may be singing a different song when I climb over the Great Pyrenees Mountains, but either way, I’m a going and giving it a try!