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Staff as Healthy Role Models

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Teachers Posing With Dodge BallsHealthy schools need healthy role models. When students see staff and parents/caregivers practicing what they preach, they are more likely to want to practice those healthy behaviors themselves. Even the slightest change in words and actions by teachers and staff can make a positive impact on student wellness.

Take Action

  • Eat better in front of kids. Pack a healthy lunch and invite students to eat with you as a reward for good behavior. Limit consuming treats in front of students as much as possible.
  • Drink water in front of students. Not only is it good for you, but it may encourage them to drink more water as well. If you drink soda or other sugary beverages during the school day, use an opaque container as to avoid inadvertently promoting soda consumption.
  • Did you go to the gym last night? Walk a 5K over the weekend? Talk to students about it so they can see adults that they admire being physically active (and enjoying it!).
  • Do you set personal health and wellness goals? If you’re comfortable, share your goals with students and teach students about goal setting, encouraging them to set a nutrition or physical activity-related goal for themselves. Focus those goals on improving health, not on weight loss.
  • Make your staff meetings and teacher celebrations healthy.
  • Ask staff to pledge to host healthy classroom celebrations during the school year.
  • Do a class project on “Healthy Heroes”. Students can research a famous athlete or other healthy role model and present to the class why they admire that individual.
  • Join in on recess or participate in a PE class. Participating in physical activity may encourage students to be active and give you an opportunity to connect with students outside the classroom.
  • Include brain breaks and energizers in your lesson plan and participate with your students during these physical activity breaks.
  • Eat school breakfast with students during National School Breakfast Week or National School Lunch Week. Make sure there are plenty of fruits and vegetables on your tray. Talk to students about healthy food choices.
  • Attend a high school sporting event such as a football or volleyball game and make sure students see you there. Let them know you think physical activity is important. Volunteer to coach if you have time.
  • Put a piece of fruit on your desk every day for a whole month. Eat it when you get hungry and show your students your healthy habits!
  • Buddy up with another staff member and walk outside or through the school hallways, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.



We may not eat healthy and be physically active all the time – that’s okay! It’s an opportunity to teach students about moderation and overcoming challenges.

It’s important to promote a healthy body image while also emphasizing healthy behaviors. Try to refrain from talking about losing weight or dieting and instead shift the conversation to making changes to improve your health.