I’m not a mute or subtle person by any means, so when my dragon boat shoulder (I’m a left sider, so my left shoulder takes the biggest hit) suddenly became mega tight and mega painful, my students noticed. And they heard me verbalize my need for a sledge hammer to just ram right through my shoulder. I even started getting physical about my dilemma, stretching and massaging – trying to relieve the pain. The hammer was going to be the only effective solution.
That hammer became the skillful little fists of every single one of my level 3 students.
The greatest part about the whole ordeal is that I never once made an actual request. The first student to finish his quiz simply came up to have me check it, which is normal classroom procedure, and asked, “Where, Teacher?” I placed my index finger on the spot, and he started hammering.
I literally said to the first student, you need to be strong. STRONGER!
The students ended up developing and sustaining a rather effective “hammering” system. The quiz I was currently checking was the student that was currently hammering. It also became an incentive to finish that quiz. Some of those children were GOOD! Their blows were making these sounds that felt pretty professional. At one point, I was getting simultaneous hammer and massage action.
All my kids got a kick out of it and seemed to enjoy inflicting pain upon me. Yet they understood that I invited this “pain,” so I would even get apologies every now and then when a student felt she might have struck me too hard. I said at one point that I hope they do this for their parents, because it felt AMAZING. Most of them do!
The result of all this free child labor? A much looser shoulder. It was now sore, of course, but the sudden tightness was gone. It was one of the best class periods EVER.