What is educational balance? There certainly are different interpretations of this among cities and towns throughout the United States and in other countries. What should students know and be able to do in order to be college and career ready? The Wellness Model above is commonly displayed in wellness classes. It is divided into various components and basically illustrates a person should try to reach optimal levels in each area to attain optimal wellness. If someone concentrates too much in a few areas, the balance may be off and that individual may be deficient in other areas throughout their life. An example is a person may be wealthy and physically fit but have poor social and emotional skills. Well-Rounded Students
As educators, we have a responsibility to help students reach their full potential as human beings not just academically. This is a monumental task that takes a collaborative effort between schools, parents/guardians, and communities. Getting everyone on the same page is a difficult task but it starts with a vision, having difficult conversations, and being open-minded. As an educator, I believe it is crucial for students to be well-rounded and learn real-life skills. If certain subjects are emphasized as being more important because of specific state required tests, we then begin the process of tipping the scales to create curriculum that reflects this. Shouldn’t a comprehensive curriculum also include character education, soft skills, financial literacy, the arts, and wellness? Time and Learning
So why are there so many more incidents of mental health problems in schools today? Declining Student Resiliency Could it be stress levels are higher, kids feel overwhelmed by mandates, excessive testing, and are less resilient? Do too many adults try to keep them from failing to prevent lower academic averages, being cut from a sports team, or not chosen for a musical/play. I would argue these certainly play a role in the increase in mental health issues in school. Learning how to keep fighting and never quitting will help develop GRIT in students. Learning needs to also be about the process of learning and not just the grade. Grades need to be skill based and reflect specific standards. Class participation and high homework grades do not help prepare students for college. Inflated high school grades will negatively impact students taking more rigorous college courses. Punctuality, interpersonal skills, working hard, collaborative problem solving, and empathy are essential for future student success. Rise in Child Mental Disorders
As a former athlete, I truly understand the dedication needed to play competitive sports. This same dedication is also needed for other high school extra curricular such as band, drama, and a host of other clubs. Anything worth doing takes dedication and commitment. Students should be encouraged to participate in as many extra curricular activities as possible that they are able to handle (this varies greatly among kids). It is selfish to influence a student to just focus on one thing when they only get one chance at high school. Very few will play major college sports or get a scholarship. Supporting students to try various activities helps them learn more about what they like or dislike. Parents and educators need to support their curiosity and help facilitate their growth. Why are kids quitting sports?
How can we teach students how to balance all of these things? I believe teaching time management skills, emphasizing persistence, and setting realistic goals is paramount in handling stress and achieving incremental success. Also creating classrooms that are fun, engaging, student centered, and allows for personalized learning helps create more curious learners that are willing to take risks and expand their horizons. Skills Employers Want