Getting, and Keeping, Schools Healthy
Most teachers seem to have too narrow of a concept regarding their role in teaching their students. They believe that they are only responsible for teaching their subject matter to reach passable rates on standardized tests. Several years ago, a study done by Gallop Polls revealed that 3 out of 5 teachers had no attachment with their students.
The Teacher’s Role
Good teachers understand how important they are in their student’s life and success in and after school. They know that they are critically important to their student’s success in life much more than the curriculum. They also know that important life lessons such as love, character, honesty, and responsibility play a larger role in their students life success than the subjects they might be teaching
Students mostly learn the life lessons of love, character, honesty, and responsibility by who the teacher is, not by what the teacher says or even does.
Teachers are second only to the parents in importance in the child’s life and must teach these lessons regardless of whether the parents have taught them. This is the most awesome responsibility teachers have. It is much more important than just teaching their subject matter so that the student will score well on standardized tests. Too often students are not taught these lessons at home. This puts even more importance on the teacher not to overlook this responsibility and opportunity. For those children who do not get these lessons at home, the teacher is usually the student’s last resort.
Health and Learning
Everyone knows how important the student’s health is to their learning. A healthy student learns more and faster than an unhealthy student. If students are absent from school, they get no instruction for that day. If the teacher is absent from school, approximately 18 students get little to no instructions for that day. Everyone knows the tremendous damage absenteeism is to students and the school. Student and teacher absences contribute to failing grades, lower GPA’s, and dropout rates.
Who is responsible for the students’ health? Students must believe “The student is primarily responsible for their own health; not their parents, not their teachers, not their doctors, and not medicine”. All teachers must understand that teaching this life lesson is also one of their primary responsibilities.
What lessons are being taught if teachers and schools are not using healthy practices? Just cleaning schools, which removes only around 10% of surface pathogens and 0% of airborne pathogens in the 21st Century, this is not enough. Schools must be continually sanitized throughout the day when teachers and students are present. Only by decreasing the pathogens in the schools by more than 50% is acceptable. Keeping the schools with 80% to 90% of the pathogens eliminated from the schools while teachers and students are present should be the goal of every school.