How to Sustain a Culture of Health and Wellness at your School.

A principal once asked me, “Adam, how will you still impact the culture to promote health and wellness after you are gone?” This was year two of my teaching career, and I had just begun to have my head above water with middle school students and classroom management. Looking back at that moment I feel like this is an excellent point to consider as a health and physical education teacher. Of course, we work magic in our classrooms; however, in my professional opinion the more people on board with health and wellness, the better!

So, I ask you, dear reader, (sorry, I am watching too much of Netflix’s show Bridgerton) how can we impact the culture of health and wellness at our schools?

Building Relationships

It starts with building relationships with students, staff, and community members. If you are going to do something different, no one cares about what you have to say until they understand that you care about them. As health and Physical Education teachers, we have a unique relationship with students. However, we cannot reach all students; thus, the importance of educating staff members on what we do and why what we do is so vital which helps to reinforce what we are teaching in the classroom. It takes a village to influence students to be healthy!

Quality Health and Physical Education

Next, quality health and physical education is a must. Teaching is based on standards, where students are safe, have fun, and learn. I feel like this is a critical component in changing culture; if not the heartbeat, you must be able to “sell” the product of health and wellness. Why would anyone believe in health and wellness if they only have access to the same “gym class” (wow, do I hate that term) as they did in school? We must do something different if we want a different result.

Schoolwide Events

To reach as many people as possible, you’ll need help within your school. Therefore, it is necessary to promote health and wellness outside of your classroom.

For example, at my school we have things such as a Wellness committee, Wellness Week (School comprehensive Spirit week related to wellness), Staff Challenges, Unified Sports Club (including students with disabilities in sports), Girls Empowerment Movement Club, and we recently installed a disc golf course.

Money and Awards

Money cannot buy happiness, but it can buy new equipment, fruits and veggies for students, and promotion for your program. Don’t have a budget? Grants are an excellent option for getting whatever you need, not to mention promotion for your program. Teachers are selfless people and do not need recognition. However, Health and Physical education needs all the promotion and recognition possible. Tools like social media, school and district newsletters, school websites, etc., can be powerful when used correctly!

Changing the culture at school related to health and wellness is no tireless drought work; however, when you start to see attitudes shift towards health and wellness and the benefits that students receive,

it is incredible! People will not understand the importance of health and wellness unless they are shown by passionate individuals such as yourself!

This microblog post was a featured post in #slowchathealth’s #microblogmonth event. You can search for all of the featured posts here. Please do follow each of the outstanding contributors on social media (including Adam Mullis, the author of this post) and consider writing a microblog post of your own to be shared with the global audience of slowchathealth.com

Pair this blog post with the following:

Why All Schools Need A Wellness Week by Adam Mullis

Inspiring Wellness by Leticia Cariño

Empower Student Leaders by Erin Hiltbrand Hall

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