Is Health Important to You?

Health…. it’s the foundation of who we are.

Why does this seem to be so hard for some people to understand?

I am a health major in the secondary education program at the U of R. I have become very biased to health education as most of us university students do with our major area of study. I feel like health is more important than any other subject. I know I sound completely crazy, but when you really sit there and think about it I think that you too will come to this realization. Without health who are we?

We need to be able to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others, we need to be able to focus on ourselves and figure out who we are. Health teaches us how to live, how to make informed decisions,understand our own identity, create meaningful relationships, deal with conflict, become critical thinkers, take action for change. This stuff sounds pretty important to me, how about you?

Why is it that the subject area of Health has been pushed to the wayside within the Saskatchewan school system? I am currently in my 3rd year of university and have just began my 3 week pre internship block. I was expecting to be placed with a co-op health teacher. I was a bit surprised to find out on my first day that the school I will be teaching at for 3 weeks does not have a health teacher or health class. Seems kind of strange right? there is a grade 9 health curriculum set out by the ministry of education, but there is no health class.

One of the teachers at the school thought it was so strange that most of us pre interns were majoring in the area of health education.

 “why would you major in health? why do they even offer that as an option at university? you will never find a job being a health teacher”

This is what we we heard when we entered the school. Most of us health interns were pretty fired up as we have a particular passion for health awareness and education for the young people within Saskatchewan. It is kind of disheartening to enter a school a school community that doesn’t share this passion. And people wonder why students struggle at school and have trouble learning. I wonder if those same people have taken the time to think about that student’s dimensions of wellness. Have they even thought about that students determinants of health. Do those people even know what those words mean?

If we want our student’s to succeed and be the innovators and leaders of tomorrow we need to be able to give them the education that they deserve. Health is so much more than eating a piece of fruit everyday.

The amount of time that is set out by the ministry for health education is much lower than the time provided for science, math and English language arts. My question is how will a student be able to do a calculus problem, or write and essay on Shakespeare if they are hungry because they have an eating disorder, having suicidal thoughts, addicted to drugs, worrying about telling their mom their are 3 months pregnant etc..?

Health….. it’s the foundation of who we are.

So currently there are some obstacles and barriers to health education. As a pre-service teacher I am feeling a bit powerless in regards to breaking down these barriers, but I am up for the challenge. I want  to create an awareness of the importance of health education and strive to promote it within the schools that I will teach at in the near future. I believe that once I become more comfortable with being a teacher and the school system I will be better able to address these issues that  I feel very passionately about.

I challenge all of you to do the same…..Are you up for it?

-Madison

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3 thoughts on “Is Health Important to You?

  1. It is strange that the school you’re at does not have a health program, but I know some schools integrate and teach physical education with health at the same time? Is this the case where you are at?

    I understand that the time set for health provincially is less that other core subjects, but that does not mean we have to follow the time restrictions. I am in middle years/elementary education and I know that here you have a little more freedom with how long you spend in your subject areas. I did it during internship and strongly believe that health can be integrated cross-curricular with all subjects. I am all for health classes and was thoroughly disappointed when I had to miss one of my health lessons and the kids enjoyed learning about the topics – they were engaged and they were learning information and skills that can be applied to their lives presently and in the future. I strongly encourage all teachers to teach health in all subjects – it can be done if this is a priority of yours and then health will be further focused on in those specific health classes.

    Some schools are wonderful at integrating health, and others are not. I believe all schools should make health a priority! You said it wonderfully, “Health … it’s the foundation of who we are!”
    I’m up for the challenge!

  2. Hi Cynthia
    Thanks for your comment

    The school that I am currently at takes their health 9 and integrates it into social 9 and English 9 all in one big mix of a class. It is awesome to see how well all of these things can fit together, but social studies and ELA are definitely more important in both the eyes of the teachers and students. I tried to shake things up a bit once I was comfortable in the huge group of 85 students and put a health spin on social students. The teachers and students responded well to it. I think there just needs to be more people within the schools that are advocates for health ed. There seems to be such a negative stigma around health ed. I can’t wait to start changing this notion.

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