Brendan Kealy is an Irish Gaelic footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for the Kerry senior team.
Brendan worked in the wines & spirits industry for more than 5 years when he decided to change the direction of his career and follow his two passions - teaching & business ownership.
He was offered an opportunity to start his own part-time business which enabled him to return to college to pursue a Master’s Degree in Primary Education. Being able to work his own hours from home with a flexible business meant that Brendan went from having no time to owning his own time to focus on his studies, personal & sporting life. Here he tells us a little about how he managed this while studying and how important even small amounts of daily physical activity are to help manage you through busy and sometimes stressful periods of our lives.
Just 20 minutes of Physical Activity a day helps maintain a healthy mind
I have recently completed my course with Hibernia College as part of the Professional Masters in Primary Education September 2014 cohort and am delighted and proud to have just received my official teacher registration number from the Teaching Council. This end result seemed a long way away only a couple of years ago but I found the second year of the course in particular flew by and some strong friendships were formed along the way.
I really enjoyed the emphasis the college places on the personal characteristics of a teacher and the importance of bringing our own personality and interests to the role. Having said that, however, at times, with a busy personal- and work-life outside of the course, it can feel like being on a treadmill with the finishing line constantly just out of sight. Therefore, maintaining the motivation and focus on the end-goal was not always an easy task. This is where I saw the true importance of participating in physical activity during this time.
Everybody these days appreciates the importance of being physically active in order to achieve and maintain good physical health and fitness, but it is also just as powerful for the mind. Looking back now, I recall the college promoting this message to us in our first number of webinars and videos.
During the course I found it extremely useful to create a ‘To do’ list and ‘Priorities’ list every week, a practice which I still use now. However, when the speed of that treadmill increases, deadlines are looming and the visit from the supervisor on School Placement could occur at any moment, it is often exercise that gets relegated to the bottom of the ‘Priorities’ list, if it is lucky enough to still be there at all!
And that term ‘Physical Activity’ doesn’t mean that somebody has to join a team or spend money on gym memberships and classes. At times when I used to hit a mental block writing an assignment or trying to put a lesson plan together, for example, the most effective thing I found was getting outside in the fresh air and going for a 20-30 minute walk or light jog. Then when I would sit back down at my desk it was like somebody had opened new doors in my brain and I returned with a much better attitude to the task at hand.
I read a quote a few years ago which said, “You have the same amount of hours in the day as Richard Branson and look at all that he achieves”. This opened my eyes to the fact that there is always time in the day to make room for doing something we enjoy – be it reading, exercise, listening to music…anything that helps us to press the pause button on our own personal treadmill. Thirty minutes of fresh air and light activity can do wonders.
The important thing to remember is that ‘Physical activity’ doesn’t mean it has to be strenuous, time-consuming or expensive. It is free and comes in many different varieties. And the busier things become, the more important it becomes to fit it into our day (i.e. during School Placement). We all have the same 24 hours so find something you enjoy, make it part of your routine and enjoy the other 23.5 productive hours of your day.
Healthy body = Healthy mind = Inspiring teacher.
The very best of luck to everyone.