Often teachers give so much of themselves to their students that there isn’t much left at the end of the day. Energy levels drop and stress increases. That’s where Capitol Hill High School teacher Jessica Dickinson found herself at the end of the school year in 2021.Dickinson decided it was time to make a change. She walked into a CrossFit gym and hasn’t looked back.
Dickinson is no stranger to physical fitness. She played JV soccer for OBU while earning her undergraduate degree. But after several years in the classroom, and putting herself at the bottom of her priority list, Dickinson decided it was time to reclaim her health.
The changes she has seen in her life are more than physical. “CrossFit has given me more energy. It’s a great outlet for stress. Overall I just feel better,” she said, adding that after she changed her diet she saw the biggest difference. “Finding time can be hard,” she admits. Dickinson wears many hats at Capitol Hill. She teaches Sophomore English and Junior AP English, serves as Department Chair, is a mentor, Mastery Connect mentor, and Girls’ Soccer coach. She is currently taking night classes at OU to earn her PhD in Learning Sciences and studying for her Administrative Certification. “Luckily I live close to my gym.”
A typical day starts with her alarm sounding at 4:00 A.M., followed by CrossFit class at 5:00, and a quick shower before she begins her school day at 7:00. “My plan is first hour, so I eat breakfast then,” she adds. After afternoon athletics and games, she heads back to the gym for 90 minutes before heading to her evening classes or church.
Her new found energy is spent making her classroom feel welcoming, comfortable, and a safe environment for students to learn. “My favorite thing about teaching is when my students lead the discussions. That’s when I know they’re getting it.” She encourages them to always do their best.
Sometimes teachers need the same encouragement in their own life. When asked what advice she would give other teachers thinking about making physical fitness part of their daily routine, she responded, “Definitely find a class or a buddy to keep you accountable. But more importantly, just go!”