Health and Fitness, Day 2

It’s been a few weeks since I finished reading The Spirit Catches you and You Fall Down, but one part of Lia’s story that comes to mind quickly is when her doctors requested she be removed from the custody of her parents–and succeeded.

Lia’s epilepsy and the communication barriers between her family and the medical practitioners led her to a vegetative state. Despite this very sad consequence, I think the greatest consequence that I see as having a relation to teaching is her removal from her home. Anne Fadiman does not judge Neil and Peggy, the doctors responsible for the request of removal, but leaves the implication that things could have been done better. They could have done something different to begin with to avoid such a drastic method of treating Lia. I wonder what would have happened if the energy it took to remove Lia from her home had been channeled into better communication with her parents.

I hate to think of this as a “warning;” I think Lia’s story and the cultural battle that occurred between her family and the hospital are more complicated and complex than a simple tale of what horrible things could happen. But there is a lesson here about the importance of making sure that I, as a teacher, keep in check the assumption that what I believe as an educator is more important or valuable than the beliefs and ideas of my students’ families.

To be honest, I’ve suffered from the delusion, on more occasions than I’m proud to admit, that my education makes me more knowledgable than someone else. It’s an easy mistake to make, so it has been imperative for me to learn that education is not the marker of knowing. But I do want to utilize my education to ensure positive communicative relationships with children’s families. 

There is a lot to unpack here in terms of Lia’s story and the effects of her removal from her home had on the emotional and mental health of her family. It is something I’ll continue to consider for my reflection at the end of the quarter.

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Health and Fitness, Day 1–QUESTIONS

Today was the first day of our Knowing, Teaching, and Assessing Health and Fitness class and it felt like a breath of fresh air (coincidence?) to consider a topic so attached to the lives of our future students, something tangible that we will need to be prepared to model and teach and something that encompasses so many aspects of our students’ families, communities, and lives.

It has gotten me thinking about my own schooling experiences with the topic of health and fitness. To many young people, I think especially in adolescence, you think you have to identify with one thing–you’re either “smart” or athletic, you’re either an honors student or a starting forward. I considered myself a bookworm and to be perfectly honest, physical activity intimidated me. I wasn’t athletic, and I can’t say I was ever explicitly encouraged to pursue exercise or sports. It wasn’t until my early 20s that I realized if I wanted to look and feel healthy, I would need to get off the couch and be more conscious of my diet. When I started hitting the gym and going for jogs, I realized how good it made me feel.

I wish I had been encouraged as a young person to stretch beyond my perception of my physical ability. I’m a girl, I’m Asian, and I like to read–I allowed a stereotype to decide what kinds of activities I would pick up and pursue. Now, I want to think about the implications my own experience has for my future as an elementary ed. teacher. What can I do to model health and fitness for my students? What can I do to ensure positive self-image in both boys and girls? How do I ensure they have access to healthy food and outdoor spaces to play in? How do I talk about these issues with students?

Because I had never considered topics of health and fitness to be something I would need to be able to teach, I’m going into this course with a lot of questions about methods and curriculum and how as a general education teacher I will be able to integrate health and fitness into my classroom environment and help prepare students make healthy decisions for themselves. These are the questions and issues I’m looking forward to gaining more knowledge about.