Welcome to the next installment of your School Wellness Ninja Training. By now you should feel like you have a few ninja tricks up your sleeve. I’m so glad you could make it. School wellness advocacy is a lonely road and you’re lovely company.
Another trademark characteristic of a ninja is camouflage. Ninjas can seamlessly slip into a room without causing alarm. Likewise, a school wellness ninja can slip into a board meeting or principal’s office and speak the language of an educator.
Lesson three: When you do speak, try to use their language.
Educators are just like any other professional group. They have a particular language. A kind of vernacular that can be understood after a little research.
Administrators are busy people. They work hard. If you’ve got their ear, don’t turn them into villains or preach about the horrors of trans fats. Educators think about numbers. They think about testing. They think about the ratio of adults to kids in a room. They think about effective instruction.
Here are some ways to learn about their world:
- Understand that everyone reports to someone. Learn about the organizational structure to make sure you’re addressing the right issue with the right person. Be polite and learn names.
- Learn about the big issues in your school. Angle your case for school wellness as a part of the solution to the issue. Read this great report from Action for Healthy Kids for ideas.
- Learn about the demands on your teacher. When you are pitching a wellness idea, make sure to reference how it will help make their life easier.
I recently learned about Unified Improvement Plans. I realized that I barely understand what kind of pressure educators face between state requirements, unfunded mandates, and teacher performance evaluations. Although I love to highlight childhood obesity statistics, I get more traction when I understand the rhythm of the school day and how wellness fits into it. You will earn respect for trying to understand things from their perspective and of course, use a bit of educator-ese.
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