By Dani M. Stone
Emily Joy is a bright and bubbly 5th grade teacher from Huntersville, North Carolina whose last name could not describe a person more. At 29, Emily loves to spend time with her friends and mentor her students, but her 254-pound frame is constantly getting in her way. As a Junior Olympic Medal winner, Emily is no stranger to competition and hopes to bring the same intensity to the Biggest Loser competition. This year she is paired with former WWE wrestler Kim Nielsen as the “Strangers Team,” on Biggest Loser 13.
Emily, the younger of two siblings, grew up in Silver Creek, New York. At the age of eight, her father began coaching her in Olympic weight lifting. She excelled in her age group, winning medals in the National Junior Olympics and Empire State Games. She continued to lift weights through high school but it wasn’t enough to combat the secret eating disorder she developed in the second grade.
After high school she attended college in New York and received her bachelor’s degree in childhood education, as well as a master’s degree in literacy. Although she loves teaching she admits her weight can be an issue in a small classroom. While moving through the maze of desks she often says “I’m not so thin, tuck it in.”
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The fall of 2011 will begin the first school year since MyPlate was introduced as the official replacement for MyPyramid. Much of the success of the new icon is in the hands of the educators who will use it in their classrooms. Many schools are preparing to incorporate MyPlate into their curricula for all age groups, and it is also already being used in nutrition education for adults and families.
“MyPyramid has gone through changes over its lifetime,” said Sharre Littrell. “I would say that this is the first one that I feel is really consumer-friendly, because we don’t eat in a pyramid. We eat on a plate.”
Littrell is a nutrition educator for UC Davis Cooperative Extension (UCCE), an organization that helps educate communities in California about healthy eating. Although the school year hasn’t started yet, Littrell has been using the MyPlate icon in family and adult educational sessions. In the fall, UCCE educators will visit about 55 low-income schools to teach both students and teachers about healthy foods and to distribute curricula for future use.
For Littrell and her colleague Josie Rucklose, incorporating MyPlate into an existing curricula wasn’t difficult because MyPyramid is based on the many of the same underlying principles. “We’re already talking about fruit and vegetable consumption, we’re already talking about whole grain consumption, but what we get to do now is incorporate that by showing them a plate,” said Littrell.
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Teachers are educators, leaders, pseudo parents, heroes, friends and mentors. Their jobs are often thankless, yet teachers are those amazing people that help shape the future of our world.
Being a teacher takes a tremendous amount of commitment, and commitment requires a tremendous amount of energy. Presenting concepts, math equations and scientific theories while continuing to be a positive influence in the classroom can be challenging for the tired and overworked educationalist.
Thankfully, the magic of yoga can come to the rescue to refresh, rejuvenate and inspire before burn out ensues.
Bank a second wind well before you might actually need it with these simple suggestions that can be practiced in the teacher’s lounge or in the classroom.
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