As the teacher, you know it is your job to lead your students in learning and making good decisions. But sometimes it is hard when there are different forces impacting those same students outside the classroom. Some of those forces include parents who may not be encouraging, both by expecting too little or too much, or too many after school activities, such as clubs or jobs.
Research has shown that when a student isn’t encouraged to follow intellectual pursuits, such as reading, outside the classroom, he or she will usually fall behind his/her peers and continue to do that throughout the rest of his/her school career.
The same thought applies to physical activity. If a student’s home life doesn’t encourage health and fitness, he or she is more likely to make poor nutrition choices and skip exercise. This can lead to all sorts of health problems down the road as the student ages into an adult.
While it can be difficult to encourage wellness if it isn’t a priority at home, it can be done. The best thing you can do for your students is to lead by example. Let your students know about your favorite exercises – such as training for a 5k or riding your bike in a nearby park. Pack healthy snacks for yourself during the day and leave a basket of fruit on your desk for students who may need a snack during the day.
Prioritize wellness in your classroom by setting aside a few minutes every day for some sort of physical activity. Have the class walk a lap around the outside perimeter of your classroom (or for little kids, make a game of it – musical chairs!). Yoga is another great thing to do, and can be done even in a crowded classroom with minimal extra space. Try a balancing pose to combine the best of strength training with mental concentration. (We have lots of great videos on www.amazenu.com dedicated to balancing poses and separated into age groups!).
When students see you making health and fitness a priority, they will be more likely to make the same good choices for themselves. Which makes this a win-win for you – you get to be healthy and encourage your students at the same time!
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