There is no doubt that 2020 will go down as one of the most memorable years of my teaching career and not necessarily for all of the right reasons. I approached 2020 full of optimism and with my traditional prediction of the HOT TOPICS for the year ahead. I predicted that skills-based health would be the hottest of all topics but I never imagined in my wildest dreams that the skills practiced would be hand-washing, social-distancing, and mask-wearing. That said, many health teachers identified that the skills that we teach would stand our students in good stead during the ongoing pandemic, and Jeff Bartlett‘s post You’re Prepared For This proved to be one of the most popular guest posts of the year.
The slowchathealth blog continued to grow exponentially and I still get a thrill out of looking at the metrics and identifying the popular posts. Undeniably, the highlight for me was providing an opportunity to feature so many #HealthEd voices from across the globe with #microblog week proving to be a runaway success. Short, 500 word, bite-sized blog posts from new voices ultimately resulted in 50 educators and authors sharing their thoughts and ideas and it is my intention to run this event again next April. Are you interested in joining in the fun?
This year the site had more guest authors than ever before, more book giveaways than ever before, and continued to raise money for educational causes, most recently for Answer. For nearly 40 years, Answer has worked to create a nation where sexuality is recognized as a normal, healthy part of development and every young person receives high-quality sex education.
2020 saw many of us re-prioritize things not only in the classroom but in our personal lives. Personally I transitioned away from focusing on spreading my message far and wide though conferences (I miss conferences!) and instead channeled all of my energy towards my students, my immediate family, and my own self-care. Self-care posts this year were VERY popular and I incorporated more mindfulness in my life, plus finally returned to exercising regularly after at least a 5 year hiatus! As the year comes to an end I was tasked to provide an assembly for a local school to send them into the holidays on a positive note. My message to students, and teachers comes in 3 parts:
- Acknowledge 2020, the challenges we faced, and overcame.
- Hit the reset button over the holidays and invest in yourself so that you face 2021 in good health.
- Focus on a goal for the new year, perhaps set a #OneWord, and put behaviors in place to ensure success.
Look out for a separate blog post exploring this message in greater detail.
Regular readers of the blog will know that I’m a huge fan of podcasts and my 70 minute commutes were the perfect opportunity to binge shows from my Stitcher playlist. Unfortunately the transition to fully remote schooling, and then a partial return with hybrid instruction means that my list of podcasts to check out grows ever larger! However, increased time at home has meant that I have been able to find time to read more widely and the books that were chosen as the slowchathealth Books of the Month proved to be outstanding reads with my favorite of the bunch being The Joy of Movement from Kelly McGonigal. The bestselling author of The Willpower Instinct introduced a surprising science-based book that didn’t tell us why we should exercise but instead showed us how to fall in love with movement. The book shared examples of things we could do in our own lives and communities to harness the power of movement to create happiness, meaning, and connection. Kelly even recorded a personal message for educators who joined me in book club!
Music continues to play a huge role in my life and I enjoyed connecting with students through the Spotify 2020 ‘Wrapped‘, their year in review. It was fun noticing trends, and finding new artists to check out (Bad Bunny anyone?). Shared playlists crowd-sourced from students, plus music played in my workouts, means that I rarely find myself in silence. When I do….I sneak in a quick meditation, something I have done more of this year than ever before. Every year I create a playlist of the music that catches my ear, usually discovered via the awesome Shazam app. Here is my playlist for 2020.
If slowchathealth had a ‘Wrapped’ it would tell you that the 5 most read blog posts from the site this year were:
4th – Better Sleep During the Pandemic, which was popular with educators and students alike. Sleep is my superpower and has been a focus for my family during the pandemic.
3rd – Dimensions of Wellness, an evergreen post written last year, is an awesome post with free downloadable resources to use in the classroom. This post inspired Jessica Matheson to create a virtual version of this lesson.
2nd – Building Relationships Remotely is indicative of how slowchathealth tries to reflect the needs of the community. This post is packed with resources and hacks for teachers to use when trying to build relationships with students you’ve only seen through a screen.
1st – Virtual Classrooms. By far the most popular post in the history of the site. Jumping on the Bitmoji craze this post definitely crossed over into the non-health teaching community and continues to be popular each week.
As the calendar year comes to an end and you reflect on the past twelve months, check out the awesome prompts in this post. They would be useful for you, but can also be used with your students as they consider areas for growth for 2021. #GoalSetting
As someone who practices gratitude as often as I can, I am grateful to you for supporting slowchathealth. If you EVER want to write a blog post, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Perhaps the #Microblog event in April might be a great opportunity. In addition to this blog, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Peloton. Let’s stay in touch.
Have a great 2021 – your certificate for completing 2020 is in the mail!