The American Federation of Teachers marked yesterday’s Child Health Day by unveiling a new Web page (www.aft.org/childhealth) that focuses on the vital link between children’s health and their academic success. As teacher Ronnie Moshi says on the page, “When my students come to class with health, social or mental issues such as homelessness, hunger, toothaches, they are often not able to pay attention or participate in a meaningful way.” Also quoted is Veronica Thibideaux, president of Texas AFT’s local affiliate in Alief ISD, who observes: “If [students] are nursing a toothache, you can believe their mind is on the pain not the teacher or learning.”
One way to promote student wellness is through practical information for adults, and the AFT page provides resources in seven specific areas: dental health, mental health, vision, hunger and nutrition, obesity, eating disorders, and chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, seizures, and sickle cell anemia. Each section includes an overview of the topic, along with links to outside sources that can provide much more detailed assistance.
The page also includes an AFT Voices question where members can add their own comments about how students’ physical or mental health issues affect their academic performance. You also can read comments from dozens of members who already have responded.