Healthier Students = A Healthier World

I really like the way the way Logan approaches his education (Hackschooling).

I am constantly frustrated with the lack of emphasis on health education within the schools that I have worked in.  Unfortunately not everyone agrees that learning important life skills such as how to make a decision and lead a healthy informed lifestyle is very important when it comes to developing our province’s future citizens, innovators and leaders.When I share with fellow educators that my major area of study in my degree is health education I often get a surprised and confused reaction. Many of these people shake their heads and say “Ohh really?  I didn’t know health was offered as an area of study.” These reactions depress me as I am feeling as though my chances of actually being able to teach what I am passionate about, is only a pipe dream. I am constantly reassured of this as I see many health classes being combined with other subject areas or pushed to the wayside to save time and allow students to get their credits to graduate. I recognize the importance of the other subject area’s  mandated within the Saskatchewan curriculum, but I wish there was more support  and guidance for schools and their staff to better integrate health education programs into their school communities.

Being a substitute teacher I have a lot of time on my hands during the school day to observe students and school life. Everyday I am reminded that students aren’t receiving the support and health education that they need. The bullying, the drugs, the cutting, the depression it’s all so very obvious to me.  My hope is that schools and their staff start to recognize the need for health education within their schools. If their students are properly equipped with the health skills the curriculum seeks to provide students with teachers and staff may see improvements in others areas of  a student’s life and school experience.  For example students who are able to properly deal with the stresses that teenage life is proven to bring on (drugs, self image, relationships, peer pressure, time management, part-time job, school work, bullying, choosing future career… etc.) will be better able to manage attending school and focusing on their learning.

Health literacy is essential for success in all area’s of a person’s life, and can result in  healthier and happier students and teachers. I believe this can also result in a healthier, and happier world. 🙂

-Madison

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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