Q&A: Teacher Walks to School
Kevin Sharitz, technology teacher, does not commute to school by car like most teachers. In the past, Sharitz biked to school, but within the last year he has switched to walking.
Q: When did you start walking to school?
A: Last November is when I started. I had just tweaked my back again, and I was talking to Mr. Olivo, and he said every time he tweaked his back he would put an ice pack on and go for a walk, so the next day I put an ice pack on and walked to school, and it felt pretty good so I just kept doing it. I was having a lot of back problems – I had muscle spasms, and then my back would clench up – and I had seen chiropractors and physical therapists and nobody had fixed anything, and this was the only thing that has fixed my back. It’s been in good shape ever since.
Q: Describe your walk.
A: I’ve got options. The normal route is about three and a half miles in and about four miles home. It takes around 45 minutes to an hour. Sometimes during the off-season I’ll do a longer route, like 4 miles in and 10 miles home, but that usually involves a stop at QuikTrip, maybe Dunkin’ Donuts. For the most part I’m just walking through neighborhoods and walking down the sidewalk at Kehrs Mill. I get to school around 7am, 7:30. I usually leave my house about 6 to 6:30.
Q: Do you walk everyday?
A: Yes. As long as there’s no lightning, I’ll still walk. I’ve got rain gear, but lightning I usually don’t mess with. If I’ve already walked to school and then there’s lightning, my wife will usually take me home, or I’ll drive on lightning days.
Q: When is the best time for walking?
A: Winter is the better time. Like when you’re walking, I never had to wear my winter jacket. So as far as if anybody is looking for a time to start, the fall and the winter is better because as soon as you start to get about 70 degrees it starts to get really hot. And it’s nice when you’re walking through the park area, and there isn’t all the leaves, you can kind of see things a little differently. I like walking through Bluebird in the winter, looking through there.
Q: How does walking to school impact your life?
A: I usually find myself much more relaxed. I feel like I’ve got more energy throughout the day, rather than just sitting in the car and then sitting here [at school]. And then usually when I get home I’m able to get more stuff done because I’ve already been moving for a while. But I’d say that just, overall, I’m a much more relaxed human being after I get my walk.
Q: Are there any negative impacts?
A: So far no, except I guess I have less time to get things done at home, like if I’m coaching softball and a game doesn’t get over until 7 p.m., I don’t get home until 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m.
Q: What are some experiences you’ve had with walking?
A: Just a lot of getting honked at and being asked if you need a ride. When I first started walking last year I would get four or five text messages everyday from people asking if I needed a ride. I once had a stranger offer me a ride, some guy in a van, and it was cold, and he’s like “Hey where are you going, I’m heading to the city,” and I’m like, “I’m good.” Other than that, it’s not very eventful.
Q: What is something you want others to know about walking to school?
A: It’s not that bad. I think a lot of people just think, like, ‘how long does it take, that’s so much time.’ It’s really not. Like, my brother works out in Warrington; he spends two hours a day in his car, I’m going to spend two hours a day walking. And if you’re somebody who likes to get some exercise in, you can go to the gym, get 30 minutes of elliptical in, but you might be better off just walking instead.
Q: Would you recommend walking for others?
A: Oh, definitely, it’s nice. Depending on where you live, there are some nice spots where you don’t have to walk across main roads. If anyone needs suggestions on where to walk, I have researched it thoroughly.
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