Teacher of the Year, Staying passionate about teaching skills for lifelong health
Teaching physical education and health at Woodford County Middle School allows Hannah McIntosh to help students understand the importance of beginning positive habits in life at an early age. She’s hopeful what they learn from her at WCMS will carryover into high school and beyond. Beginning her eighth year of teaching PE and health at WCMS, McIntosh spent one year in Madison County before coming here. “I’m very blessed to pick up this position and I don’t think I’m going anywhere,” says McIntosh, whose parents are originally from Woodford County. A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, McIntosh says she knew she wanted to teach in high school. It wasn’t until her freshman year at EKU that she knew she wanted to teach physical education and health. “This is what I want to teach. This is what I’m passionate about. It’s how to live a healthy lifestyle,” she remembers telling herself while taking an intro to PE/health course at EKU. “… And then that really allowed me to reflect on the amazing PE teachers I’ve had.” They became here inspiration for how to make a difference in the lives of students and teach them to embrace a healthy lifestyle, she says. “My job as the physical health educator … I’m looking at the whole child in terms of their physical health, their mental health, their social well-being. That is the basis of who we are. It is crucial to learn those skills so that we can be better … at all these other things.” McIntosh, who played sports her entire life and has coached, understands the value of teaching lifelong skills in PE class so students can reap the health benefits of participating in physical activities – now and later in life. Because of the shift to virtual learning since last March, McIntosh has focused class time on social and emotional learning and lessons on nutrition, while still encouraging students to stay physically active. “You can’t really take them apart,” she says of health and PE. “There’s always some kind of health component adding into what we’re doing physically.” McIntosh says one of her greatest takeaways from teaching happens when students don’t forget what they learned and that helps them make positive choices later life. Her focus on valuing a healthy lifestyle began with her teachers and continues with the support of her teaching colleagues, including Rick Carr and Melody Hamilton. McIntosh and Zach, her husband of three years, have a two-year-old daughter, Hattie. This is the fifth in a series of stories about Woodford County Public Schools’ 2019-20 Teachers of the Year.