The slowchathealth blog post is now over four years old and continues to go from strength to strength, and to think that when I initially started I used to worry that I would run out of content. Initially my focus was on helping to amplify the voice of health teachers at a time when our #PhysEd counterparts were dominating the online spaces. In the past four years I would argue that the voice of health teachers has become louder, and the needs of our community are better understood. There are many reasons for this but I do want to acknowledge the role of SHAPE America and their efforts in supporting health teachers, their need for professional development (check out the Teacher’s Toolbox) and their need for advocacy tools.
When I deliver my keynote at #KyAHPERD19 the theme will be Heroic Efforts and I’ll acknowledge that every super hero has an origin story. Here’s the origin story behind #slowchathealth.
In 2015, awesome Massachusetts-based health educator Jeff Bartlett had some success with a health chat and Justin Schleider’s slowchatPE blog was growing in support with his daily questions also proving to be a success. I had just come off of a successful year at school and was looking for a way to keep myself professionally fresh over the summer months and so creating a blog of my own seemed a good idea. My blog was NEVER meant to be my voice. Aimed at health teachers working with students of all ages the blog aims to promote online discussion, a sharing of resources and inspiration to those teaching health to provide a better experience for the students that we teach.
Over the past 4 years the list of guest bloggers has continued to grow, and these educators have come from across the globe, evidence that our global family is supportive of each other. Collaboration with teachers on the other side of the world in Australia and New Zealand has been one of my highlights and I have learned much about the similarities and differences in the way we teach and the resources that we use. Introducing my #PhysEd students to the Maori game of Tapuwae would never have occurred if I hadn’t felt able to reach out to educators in New Zealand and seek their advice.
The blog has been a useful way for me to get my thoughts down on paper, with the blogging process encouraging me to reflect on my ideas and refine them before posting. I am slowly developing themes among the ideas and resources that I share and these in turn are making their way into some of the presentations that I deliver at conferences. Essentially the blog is a place for me to store the best versions of me. Some of my most popular blogs are those that share ideas and resources that have worked in my classroom – I even have my students make suggestions for improvement to these lessons before they are eventually shared.
As silly as it sounds, I am inspired by the statistics available on WordPress. Every now again the blog has an amazing month, more readers, or more guest posts shared than ever before. Seeing how many people have read my blog, and which posts have been most successful encourages me to become a better writer. At the time of writing, the site is reaching a record number of readers, and there are guest writers lining up to contribute material. Perhaps now is the time for YOU to consider submitting a blog post?
I definitely think that blogging has encouraged me to be more confident in my subject material and in the conversations that I have with health teachers and professionals whom I admire. I also think that it has helped my reputation as a teacher among my PLN and opened my pathway to offers of collaboration and conference presentations that perhaps might not have been made prior to my blog creation. As I have grown in confidence my collaborative efforts have expanded outside of the Health and PE community and I have appreciated getting to know outstanding educators, bloggers and podcasters in other subject areas.
The combination of increased confidence and a carefully curated PLN which continues to show support inspired me to launch the #sendateacher fund raising initiative that has sent public school educators to the SHAPE America National Conferences in Boston, Nashville, and Tampa who would not normally be able to attend due to a lack of professional development funds at their school or district. This initiative has also supported individual teachers, GoFundMe requests, and raised money for a school that was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.
As a reader of my blog, I thank you for your support as I continue to do my best to serve and support the #HealthEd community. If you have found the site to be useful, inspirational, or you’ve taken an idea and made it work for your students, please share your feedback in the comments section below, or on social media.
There is only one #slowchathealth question, post your answer whenever you wish….
Why do you blog? I’ll tag bloggers in an image this week, hopefully we’ll get an insight into their reasons behind blogging
Check out three of our most popular blog posts:
More Movement in the Classroom – awesome ideas for promoting movement in the classroom.
I’ve Seen the Future – the best activity for getting to know your students?
STI Case Studies – one of the most engaging ways to teach STI’s.
*This is an update of a post from 2016