I mean this literally. I got a Fitbit last year, and during the spring semester, I tracked how many steps I took during an average of 5 class sessions of each of the 3 courses that I taught.
My classes were a content-based IEP class with 13 students, a mixed-skills intermediate-level credit community college ESL class with 21 students, and an advanced ESL writing class with 25 students.
Across 5 class sessions, the average number of steps total for each class was:
- Content-based IEP: 236
- Intermediate CC: 626
- Adv. writing CC: 440
Of course, since the class sessions were of different lengths, it makes sense to divide the number of steps by the number of minutes in which I had to take them.
Steps per minute of class time, including breaks:
- Content-based IEP: 2.63 steps per minute
- Intermediate CC: 2.78 steps per minute
- Adv. writing CC: 1.96 steps per minute
Last, because higher numbers of students might feasibly require the teacher to move more and farther around the classroom, here are the steps per minute further divided by the numbers of enrolled students:
- Content-based IEP: 0.20 steps per minute per enrolled student
- Intermediate CC: 0.13 steps per minute per enrolled student
- Adv. writing CC: 0.08 steps per minute per enrolled student
What does this tell me?
I tended to walk around more, all other things being equal, in the content-based class. I attribute this to the type of work they typically did – small group discussions in which I would move from group to group and either guide the discussion, participate as an equal, or just listen. The other two classes, at community college, usually involved at least some “lecturing”, standing relatively still or sitting at the computer and typing notes projected onto a screen.
I think my classes could benefit from structuring more lessons around small group work rather than lectures to begin with. As it turns out, a further benefit might be that it helps me reach my fitness goals.