The start of the school year is like a New Year’s celebration! It’s what we’ve been working toward all summer long, including Doreen Fatula. Heading into her 19th year at Social Health, she is a mentor and peer coach for new Health Educators and teaches all SHA programs.
Teachers Become Students
Doreen has helped lead three new SHA teachers through several weeks of intense training, which includes reading manuals, learning lesson plans, attending webinars, observing classes and conducting three mock teaching sessions on their own. In addition to their prior professional teaching experience, every new Health Educator completes over 200 hours of training.
Keeping Up with Technology
With so many new technologies today, students require new ways of learning. In 2013, SHA introduced clicker systems to the Making A Difference!™ (MAD) teen pregnancy prevention program. This year all MAD educators will have clickers for their classes, and all Health Educators have been given a tablet and mini projector with speakers so they can be self-sufficient in any classroom.
Who Wants to Sit in a Lecture All Day?
SHA has partnered with Playworks Indiana to incorporate play into the classroom and will take balls and batons to school this year. Think Hot Potato. The one who catches the ball or has the baton gets to answer the Health Educator’s question. These tools get kids up and moving and engaged.
New CARE Curriculum
To stay on top of social and teaching trends, SHA has updated the curriculum for the Healthy Relationships program and will begin teaching the new Communicating with And Respecting Each other (CARE) curriculum in September. Developed in collaboration with the Domestic Violence Network, this enhanced version of Healthy Relationships focuses on all dating relationships whether they are impacted by violence or not.
The program incorporates interpersonal communication skills, which are so important in this hi-tech age of digital devices, and will help 8th grade teens develop skills to effectively communicate in romantic relationships. As before, class discussions are offered in a safe, co-ed, nonjudgmental environment.
Teaching with Heart
Perhaps the most important thing Doreen shares with Social Health’s new teachers is her passion.
“Once the material is in their head, it’s time to teach from the heart,” explains Doreen. “Rather than focus on the logistics of setting up a room, we can smile, make eye contact and really connect and have conversations with students.”
It’s this kind of impact that keeps her coming back year after year.