There was a year when I could confidently say that I was the best health teacher in my school….but that’s because I was THE only health teacher in the school, and I know that some of you can make that same claim. Then I moved to a school that has 16, yes SIXTEEN teachers teaching the health curriculum to the freshman and sophomore classes. So now I’m not even the best health teacher in my hallway. How can I be so sure? Well, I work alongside Andy Horne who not only leads our health curriculum but was also awarded National Health Teacher of the Year by Shape America. Having someone as good as Andy in the department really motivates teachers to constantly raise their game, take risks and try new things. As a result, the collaboration among our teachers is outstanding. I’m not suggesting that we try and out-do each other, but we sure do try new and innovative ways of delivering our content to our students.
Andy’s passion is evident in his teaching, and his Scholarly Raps show how he isn’t scared to put himself out there for students and teachers to see his work. Over the past few years his health raps have been watched globally, with the muscle rap (see below) having 30,000 views. How often can we as teachers say that the messages that we teach and the material that we create has been seen by that many people?
In a recent interview Andy said that he sees teaching as both fun and a learning experience. He enjoys the challenge of trying to connect with students and then seeing them become engaged and excited about taking responsibility for their own healthy behaviors. He likes helping them lay the groundwork for a healthy future life. Their youthful passion excites him. Andy’s favorite unit to teach is the sex education unit. It’s a subject the students want to know more about. It creates buzz and excitement and opens avenues to some great discussions.
When asked, Horne offered the following six teaching tips to share with his health and PE teaching colleagues:
- Don’t be afraid to take risks! Don’t be afraid to fail because this is how we grow as teachers. If you keep doing the same things over and over, you are not growing and neither are your students.
- Continue to go to conferences and connect and learn new ideas
- Expand your personal network. Always be looking for ways to grow as a teacher and as a person. Connect with other teachers and learn from them.
- Utilize Social media-especially Twitter. It’s a great way to connect with other professionals and learn from them.
- Pick a fellow teacher in your school who is going to push you and hold you accountable for growing as a teacher.
- Make sure your curriculum is current and adaptive.
Based on Andy’s teaching tips, here are this week’s questions:
Q1. In what ways do you encourage students to take risks in your lessons? #slowchathealth
Q2. What is the best conference or professional development that you have attended? #slowchathealth
Q3. How has connecting with other teachers on social media benefited you professionally? #slowchathealth
Q4. Who is the teacher within your building that pushes you to become a better teacher? #slowchathealth
Q5. How do you ensure that your curriculum is current? #slowchathealth