Ideas Exchange: What Suggestions Do You Have for Physical Education Teachers When Starting a New School Year?

Strategies: A Journal for Physical and Sport Educators, September-October 2009 | Go to article overview
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Ideas Exchange: What Suggestions Do You Have for Physical Education Teachers When Starting a New School Year?


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The beginning of a new school year should be looked upon with anticipation and enthusiasm. Hopefully the summer months have produced rest and relaxation, complimented by professional growth opportunities such as curriculum/ grant writing projects, or attendance at PE/Wellness related workshops. The summer is an excellent time to interact with colleagues, and develop new interests and points of reflection. I have the following suggestions for teachers in order to begin a new school year:

1. Renew your affirmation as to the value of quality physical education programs in the schools, and what contributions you can make toward enhancing existing programs.

2. Connect with administrators and other content area teachers, as to the importance of healthy lifestyle patterns, and the necessity for children to participate in regular physical activity via the physical education program. Stress the importance of physical education as an integral component of a comprehensive educational framework.

3. Serve as a good role model to students; whereby personal fitness and sound nutritional practices constitute a major part of your daily living practices.

4. Become an important resource for students and colleagues alike, as to your expertise in relation to fitness/ wellness planning and consumerism.

5. Establish yourself as a leader and mentor in planning departmental activities which produce a comprehensive and sequential program of instruction at all developmental levels.

These simple suggestions will hopefully help you as a physical educator create an environment beneficial to all, and form the basis for a productive year of cooperative learning; whereby growth and intrinsic motivation will prevail.

Dr. John Magnotta

City School District of New Rochelle

New Rochelle, NY

Some suggestions to consider at the beginning of each school year would be to first meet with your school nurse to discuss any student medical concerns. Be sure to make a note of each one to have on hand for yourself or substitute. Next, I would organize the class into some type of designated teams. By doing this, it really eliminates downtime during transitions and provides the students with a place to enter the gym to receive instructions; it is a major help with classroom management. Another thing I would consider is to stick with a warm-up routine throughout the school year. By doing this, I feel that it saves time at the beginning of class to allow more time for skill development and activities throughout. Also, be sure to explain the rules and expectations to the students clearly the first day. And, make sure to explain the consequences if a rule is not followed. A final thing to consider on the first day, is to try to get a feel of what types of sports or games each class enjoys. By doing this, it helps me incorporate games or activities using those skills.

Adam Szarmach

Elementary Physical Education Teacher

Pittsburgh, PA

The beginning of the school year is always an exciting time with so many things going on (some old and some new) all to get ready for the students. My first suggestion for new teachers would be to talk with physical education or coaching colleagues who teach/coach the same level to get ideas on what they do. As they talk, make a list of their process. Be sure to speak with an administrator who knows your building for specific idiosyncrasies that might otherwise be a surprise. Sometimes a review of "opening procedures" will happen at a faculty meeting but remember the instructional physical education area is much different than any other classroom in the building. Blend all the suggestions into a single list of your own, organize your notes into age-appropriate groupings and talk with a teacher who could best serve as a mentor. Whether providing suggestions for physical education teachers or athletic coaches, the comments would revolve around the development of a "first-day list" and would be almost identical irrespective of professional assignment.

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Ideas Exchange: What Suggestions Do You Have for Physical Education Teachers When Starting a New School Year?
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