Teacher Feature: Ms. Ballard

Samantha Bailor, Staff Writer

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This year, the health department welcomed Ms. Leah Ballard, who previously worked in the academic resource department.

Ms. Ballard is an Eleanor Roosevelt High School alumna and is currently teaching her first year of health education. She graduated from the University of Central Florida, where she majored in exercise science and minored in education. Ms. Ballard said she enjoys being back at her “old stomping grounds” and that she “couldn’t work anywhere else.”

Ms. Ballard’s passion shone through as she discussed the content areas she teaches within health, including anatomy, nutrition–her personal favorite–and most importantly–empathy. In addition to learning healthy dietary and fitness habits, students in her class learn about the often difficult to discuss subjects of suicide and abuse. Ms. Ballard emphasized the importance of these topics, stating that people need to know how to deal with them to help both themselves and others.

Beyond simply taking notes on textbook chapters, Ms. Ballard makes her class interesting and engaging, according to students. She recognizes the importance of teaching “in a relatable way.” Students apply concepts they have learned through creating skits and videos, as well as using a quiz app called “Plickers,” in which they hold up cards that Ms.Ballard scans with her phone, which in turn allows them to see if they correctly answered each question.

“There’s variety in the way she teaches us,” said junior Toni Aderinwale. “I really like her class. She’s engaged when she’s teaching, and she’s really nice.”

“She’s awesome,” added fellow health teacher Ms. Dana Car’Mon. “She has really good ideas.”

In her spare time, Ms. Ballard works as a fitness instructor, and is working on launching her own business.

“Health is something you’ll need for the rest of your life,” she stated calmly and confidently. Toni said she agrees, and believed Ms. Ballard is sending her students down the right path, stating that her class helps them “live a better life.”

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