Teachers and staff members from San Lorenzo Valley High School took part in a unique team-building exercise this week to prepare for students’ return to school.
They tried stand-up paddle boarding.
First-year principal Karen van Putten, a paddle-boarder herself, enlisted the help of Santa Cruz stand-up paddle board companies including Club Ed Surf School, Surftech and others to get the school’s staff out on the water Tuesday, Aug. 22.
“I wanted our teachers to remember what it was like to learn something new,” van Putten said. “There is anxiety in the learning process.”
Dressed in wetsuits on a foggy Santa Cruz morning, SLV’s staff learned the technique from Ed Guzman of Club Ed Surf School and then jumped into the water along with the surfboard-like devices borrowed from Surftech.
Many teachers paddled around for more than half an hour before returning to share their boards.
“It was cool to be out there,” said Riley Park, who said he found paddle boarding fun, but somewhat challenging as a first-timer.
He described the activity as the perfect team-building exercise to help the staff understand how students feel when they try new things.
“We challenge (our students) every day,” Park said. “I haven’t challenged myself like that in a while.”
Engineering teacher Dave Grant’s goal was to paddle the entire time without falling in. He was one of the few who didn’t wear a wetsuit.
“I made it to the last 20 feet and then fell in,” he said.
Special-education teacher Sheryl Martin said she was scared at first, but she enjoyed the overall experience.
“It’s totally a great idea,” Martin said. “Everybody had to be focused on the same thing, but it was also about me and what I can do.”