Middle School Hero

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 28 2012

Closing the physical education gap

So for the last three days, I’ve been covering a PE class for one of the coaches who has been out with a family emergency. It’s been a great experience for myriad reasons and while I’ll be glad to get my planning period back at the end of this ordeal, it’s really done a lot to open my eyes to new perspectives of our school.

Every day is pretty much the same in PE: there’s the stretching, the excersising, and the three minutes of running at the beginning of class. After that, one coach takes a group of kids outside and the other stays in the gym where kids can play basketball and indoor soccer. I’ve spent days both in and out and its been an awesome way to spend 5th hour.

One of the biggest benefits has been that it has allowed me to connect with my students in ways that I wasn’t able to before. One thing that I’ve noticed is that my interactions with students are very limited. I didn’t notice this at first because I’m talking at my students all day every day. But how much of that conversation consists of exchanging pleasantries, giving directions, and managing? How much of that time do I actually get to spend truly interacting with my kids in a way that makes them mine? Not enough. But these last few days, I’ve been able to have real conversations with my kids while I play basketball with them, pass the soccer ball back and forth, or help them put up nets. It’s been great to see some of my students in a different light.
One of my kids who is obsessed with soccer played with me some today, and I have to admit that the kid’s got some serious skills. I got to talk to him about all his different leagues and could even relate because I actually play in one of the indoor leagues that he does. I’m going to watch him play tomorrow and might even get to play in an outdoor league with his dad. How cool would that be?

I also really enjoyed being outside for 45 minutes every day. I love the dynamism of teaching, but I’m also spending more time indoors now than I have in a long time. By the time 7th hour rolls around, it’s tough to keep the energy up but my time outside has helped me come back in later and finish strong.

While I don’t plan on becoming a full time PE teacher anytime soon, it’s been a good experience and in the end is yet another unique adventure that I can attribute to my teaching career.

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