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.