Meet Nanci Coolen, DSEP Regional Incentive Award Winning Middle School Physical Educator

 By Antionette Meeks of Cairn Guidance, a Dove Self-Esteem Project Partner

I am the luckiest teacher in the world! I teach 150 middle school girls and they are awesome!”

Nanci Coolen is a middle school physical education teacher in the state of Hawaii.  She has been teaching middle school for fifteen years.  If there is anything she has noticed, it is that girls need to learn how to develop confidence and love themselves.  She believes her students are constantly bombarded with social media, stress, pressure, and have virtually every part of society telling them that they should look and act a certain way.

Nanci offers kudos to the Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP) and its Confident Me! lessons designed to get the valuable message about body confidence and positive self-esteem out. After discovering the content is research-based, she spent some time prepping for the single lesson version, including copying handouts, preparing her thoughts, and gathering magazines and materials for the lesson.  DSEP offers two different ways to teach Confident Me! by using the single lesson or five lesson curriculum.  The single lesson can be taught as a stand-alone lesson, as with Nanci’s students, or as a booster after the five-lessons have been taught.

The lesson itself took approximately one hour to teach – this is a fluid number – you could go faster or take longer depending upon the depth and breadth of your discussions. Two hours – two amazing hours of my time to teach these girls how to identify society’s pressures, how to notice what the media does to ads and things to make them look ‘perfect,’ and to discuss strategies and make goals to believe in themselves and to be more confident, self-loving people! Two hours well spent, I would say!

She plans on teaching this lesson again. Next year, she will include the boys (her school gender splits their classes).  After teaching this to the girls, Nanci knows self-esteem is something the boys need to know, as well – either as students who are experiencing these things or to know what the girls are going through.

Nanci finds the lessons are well-written, easy to follow, research-based, and so worth the time it takes to teach these valuable lessons!  Her girls enjoyed the lesson very much and made comments such as “I am not going to let the media tell me what I am supposed to look like,” “girl power,” “thank you for teaching me this – I didn’t know what they did to these ads to make them look perfect,” and “how am I supposed to live up to an image that isn’t even real?” – these comments made it all worthwhile.

DSEP appreciates Nanci’s message to other educators and is honored to recognize her as one of four 2017 national incentive award winners.

If you implemented the DSEP Confident Me! Lessons this year, you can be entered to the 2018 incentive drawing to have a chance at winning all expense paid professional development to a national or regional conference. The drawing will take place in December 2018. Email Samantha at samantha@cairnguidance.com to be entered in. It’s our way of saying thank you for teaching the DSEP Confident Me! lessons.  For more information, please visit the website at Dove Self-Esteem Project.

I would highly recommend everyone to take the time to teach this important message – kids today need this now more than ever!