Macky Acosta is a six grade student; she has lived in Guam her whole life but has Filipino blood. Her mom stays at home while her dad helps at a local hospital. Her parents socially support Macky and even volunteer to be chaperones during school field trips. Her teachers enjoy Macky’s demeanor but have a hard time keeping her focused on the task in the classroom. Unfortunately, Macky falls under the category of being obese. Her family has struggled with diabetes and Macky has shown signs of being on the same boat which is said to be a result of obesity. She often struggles at staying awake during presentations or lectures, and when she is awake she appears very lethargic and moves at a very slow pace.
Her Geography teacher Mr. Roberts has grown quite concerned that Macky is falling too far behind in class. Mr. Roberts after seeing her nodding off has asked her several times to use the restroom to wash her face so she can stay awake. He understands it is the last class of a long school day but needs to find out more. He has been logging and taking notes when these issues have occurred, but he realizes that without fixing the issues she wont be able to catch up and stay on the same pace with her classmates. He calls a lunch time meeting with Macky’s other teachers to find out more and they also have seen some similar issues with her in their classes. They discussed some strategies that they have tried, like moving her to a different seat, and interviewing her to see if she is getting enough sleep. They decided after the meeting that the next step was to inform and give their written notes of certain issues and a formal report to their administrators so that all the teachers of Macky would be aware of her situation.
When dealing with Obesity in children there are a couple of things to take note of: having type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, bone and joint problems, breathing problems, sleep problems, depression, and menstrual irregularities. Due to all these possible developments, teachers have to pay attention to such students and create a support group with parents and other teachers to help make obese students succeed in class and improve their health as well. It is important to focus on their strengths and lift up their self-esteem or self-image so that they feel encouraged and motivated to learn just as much as their classmates.
Apart from the teacher being a role model for healthy behaviors, especially related to nutrition and exercise another example to make the the learning environment more student-centered is to integrating lessons on nutrition and exercise into your lesson plans and allow the students themselves to create their own individual or group plans. It is also important to provide Social Learning opportunities, by “encouraging non-competitive physical activities, such as dancing, that emphasize participation and social interaction with peers”. With this specific situation, Obesity, an emphasis on increased physical activity is crucial, therefore creating more activities that are less sedentary and more movement amongst the students can be of great help to address this need.
Gavin, M. L. (Ed.). (2014, March). Special Needs Fact Sheet: Obesity. Retrieved July 30, 2016, from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/obesity-factsheet.html
Childhood Obesity & Testing: What Teachers Can Do. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2016, from http://www.teachhub.com/childhood-obesity-testing-what-teachers-can-do