Among the many interesting things this school year has brought us is a new and intimate familiarity with some odd places. If you’re teaching online, you have unprecedented access to your students’ homes: their bedrooms, basements, and back porches. If you’re teaching in person, you may find yourself thinking about nooks and crannies you’ve never considered in the name of cleaning “high-touch surfaces.” The underside of tables, for instance, or the back of chairs, are getting special attention. You may have hesitated to touch a student’s laptop or tablet or thought twice about picking up that pencil from the ground—who knows where it’s been? The challenges and new procedures of this year have been in the name of health, and so we bring you an issue this month about just that—what we are doing to encourage the health and wholeness of our students.
October’s issue focused on the mental and emotional health of students, and the flip side of the coin is just as important this year. Washing hands, wearing masks, and sanitizing surfaces is front of mind for us all right now, and that’s especially challenging in hands-on classroom situations. So, John Byl brings us a set of suggestions for teaching P.E. in the Covid-19 era. Beyond virus prevention, there are many health and wellness topics that we are responsible for teaching students at all levels. Principal Tammy May has spent years making her Virginia school a place where healthy habits are formed, and she brings us an administrator’s perspective. Shari Jurgens investigates what motivates college students to remain active, and we hear from a food service professional about what it takes to run a National School Lunch Program. Seth Horton, a faith-based sex educator, reports on teaching risk avoidance and sexual integrity in the modern era, and Chris deBoer considers what it means that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.
We hope this issue brings you relevant content for the Covid-19 age as well as reminders and new ideas about how to care for the health of our students. And we pray that you and yours are all staying healthy, too. May this holiday season inspire and rejuvenate us for the year to come.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not particularly fit. Sure, I try to eat healthily, and teaching is more active than a desk job, but I’m not blessed with much natural athleticism. I’ve finally found a healthy hobby that really plays to my strengths, though—bouldering! I love that balance is just as important as strength, and solving the puzzle of a tricky route keeps me entertained in a way that jogging or yoga rarely do. Plus, a coworker and I have started taking students to the local bouldering gym after school, and it’s fun to see them try something brand new and succeed.
- Abby Zwart
About four years ago I took up running again. I ran track in high school and have run on and off through the years, but this time it stuck—partly because of vanity and wanting to be comparatively fit for a middle-aged person but mostly because of the psychological benefits of quiet alone time, the community of people who share an interest, and the push it has given me to get outside in all kinds of weather. I run a few road races to challenge myself, but my favorite runs are long trail runs at an easy pace.
- Steve Tuit