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If It's September, This Must Be Teamwork

If It's September, This Must Be Teamwork

By John Henry Ledwith | September 19, 2018
National Sales Manager, ETR

Hello, September! Like many of you, I am part of a team that has been getting local classrooms ready for the new school year. The hum and clatter and movement of all of that effort has left me thinking a lot about teamwork this week.

For returning teachers, there is a familiar texture to this process. You’re taking care of simple physical needs (“Where do I get enough chairs for my students?”) and thinking through some of the symbolic ones (“How will I help my new students feel welcome when they walk into this room?”). It’s all part of the practice. We prepare once again for the launch of active young minds as they embark on their new year.

A Playbook for the Team

This takes the work of teams. That teamwork, the perseverance, the dedication and effort—it comes from the recognition that we are stronger together. And that includes the work of that great friend to us all, the substitute teacher. A vital part of the team!

If you’ve read my posts before, you know that I’ve done my share of coaching kids’ sports teams. When someone is out from the team and can’t participate, the coach doesn’t send in a replacement without a playbook. In classrooms, this principle is equally important.

Your playbook consists of strong, connected, flexible lesson plans. You want a curriculum that you, or another team member—including a substitute—can pick right up and put to work. You want to continue the positive momentum of skill-building and knowledge mastery. This is something all teams and teachers need, perhaps especially as the year is starting. It is a moment when everyone needs to move forward with clarity and intention to achieve the best possible success in student learning.

ETR and HealthSmart work with structured intent to do just that. You might be a seasoned professional who’s been doing this for years—familiar with the curriculum, bringing your own dynamic vision to every one of the lessons—or a walk-on substitute who’s picking up that lesson plan for the first time, hoping for clear guidance on what to say and do next. In either case, HealthSmart lessons are designed for you.

You Inspire Me

I’ve had a busy summer travelling around the country and talking to people who use the HealthSmart program. This is an inspiring experience! There is so much exceptional professionalism and fine work among school health educators. It’s also exciting to meet with people who are looking at the HealthSmart program for the first time. I get to watch things click in their brains as they look over a lesson plan and imagine themselves leading these activities in front of their own students.

So welcome, 2018-19 teammates. Thank you for your commitment and for the support you share with one another. I am looking forward to a great year.

If you’re one of the folks in school health education who hasn’t yet seen what we do in HealthSmart, I hope you’ll check it out. We can arrange trial access to our entire scope of lessons and materials, and it’s an impressive display.

Go, team!


John Henry Ledwith is National Sales Manager at ETR. He can be reached at


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