Tips for Physical Education Teachers

More than ever before, the role of physical education teachers is vital. With childhood obesity on the rise, physical education teachers who help their students find enjoyment in physical exercise can literally impact their students' lives for decades to come. The following 9 tips for physical education teachers will help you create an atmosphere of fun and learning within the walls of your gymnasium:

1. Teach Good Sportsmanship

Good sportsmanship doesn't develop in a vacuum. It's something that must be intentionally taught. As a physical education teacher, you have a valuable opportunity to teach your students how to compliment one another, how to help one another improve, how to lose well, and how to win without making others feel small.

2. Teach Exercise as a Life-Long Practice

As a physical education teacher, your job isn't just teaching the skills of various sports, like football and dodgeball. Your job is also to help each and every child discover at least one area within athletics that they enjoy and where they might possibly be able to excel.

3. Rotate Many Sports throughout the Year

Expose your students to many different types of sports, from team sports to individual sports. Help them to see, too, that not everyone will excel at every sport, but everyone is good at something.

4. Focus on Teaching a Variety of Skills

Incorporate many different skills, too, as you guide your students though different sports. This will help them to recognize that different parts of our bodies contribute to our athletic ability, from our large muscles to our posture to our concentration and determination.

5. Thread Positive Messages about Nutrition into Your Teaching, As Well

As your students' physical education teacher, the children you teach look up to you and value what you have to say. So the message they receive from you about choosing healthy foods and eating a varied diet will leave an impression – one that may well last a lifetime.

6. Allow One-on-One Assessment Opportunities

Certainly there will be times when the only way to assess your students is to observe their interactions as one whole group. But whenever you have the opportunity, try to squeeze in one-on-one assessments, as well. You may actually find that some students perform better one-on-one than they do in front of the entire class.

7. Maintain a Safe Physical Education Environment

As the physical education teacher, it is up to you to make sure that all of the equipment your students are using is, indeed, safe, and that the gymnasium itself provides adequate space and ventilation. When necessary, act as an advocate for your students. Place requests for updated equipment and renovations, when necessary, through your building supervisor or principal.

8. Apply for Grants If Needed

Consider applying for a grant, too, in order to fund certain upgrades or the purchase of new equipment. Just be sure that you follow all of the procedures and requirements of your school district, pertaining to who may apply for grants, and when.

9. Get the Whole Family Involved

As you introduce your students to healthy habits like eating well and getting regular exercise, challenge them to share what they are learning with their families. In fact, look for ways to assign projects that will require some parental involvement, whether that is having each family chart their exercise for one week, or place stickers on a food pyramid to show their food choices, or even creating an at-home exercise program they can enjoy together.

Physical education teachers have a unique opportunity to help their students build healthy life-long habits, as well as uncover skills that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. Know that the work you're doing as a physical education teacher has tremendous value in the lives of your students and their families.

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