Welcome to the start of back to school, Physical Education teachers! Are you excited that the school year is about to start? Are you nervous? Or are you like me, thinking to yourself, “What in the world am I going to do this year that’s different than years past?” Maybe you’re ready for the year and have everything together. Maybe you just need a quick refresher on what to expect and how to organize yourself. Here are some tips to get back in the rhythm of being back in school:
Have your first couple weeks and/or month planned out. Not sure where to begin? Start with what worked last year. Think of a way to learn the student’s names. Personally, I like putting my students in squads. It’s hard learning 500 names a year! My first couple weeks are all about squads and routines. This is how we walk into the gym. This is how we walk out. This is where you sit. This is what we do when there’s a fire drill. These are the rules. And speaking of rules…
Let the students have some say in what rules you are going to impose. Let’s be honest here – everyone has the same rules. Even my three-year-old was able to memorize the rules when he was in the two year-old class. However, here’s the difference: You are going to let your student’s THINK they are coming up with the rules, and then you’ll summarize them and put them somewhere for everyone to see. This gives your students OWNERSHIP.
The next thing is to decide what your personal goals are for the year. Do you want to be a better classroom manager? Do you want to come up with new, creative ideas or stick with what’s worked in the past? Do you want to use technology more in your class? What is important to YOU? There’s no wrong answer. Do what works for you.
Make a rough outline of each quarter before the year begins. In my county, Montgomery County Public Schools (montgomeryschoolsmd.org) in Maryland, we use something called Curriculum 2.0 that has outlines of what everyone should be doing in every subject all year long. I can print out lesson ideas and make outlines right now for the whole year. I color code each lesson topic by week that I am going to work on through the year and the dates when I am going to do those lessons. This helps me remember what units I am going to work on throughout the quarter. You can also use programs provided by Focused Fitness to help with curriculum and to get access to student tracking software.
The last thing I want to leave you with is something that is dear to me – getting involved with the PTA and community. I want to share some suggestions with you about what you can do that will take very little time and will give you a ton of intrinsic value. The first is joining the PTA. It’s easy, usually about $20, and it lets the parents and school know that you are on board. The second is to email or call local restaurants or sports teams and see if they can help you out with fundraisers or rewards for your students. For 10 minutes of your time, you may be able to send hundreds of students to sporting events for free. I’ve been blessed to have established relationships in my community that have rewarded my students with free tickets to numerous sporting events and parties for classes that behave well and reach goals that we set. When my friends ask how I do it all, I just tell them I picked up the phone and asked.
If you have any questions about anything I’ve talked about, please do not hesitate to email me! I can be reached at [email protected].
Visit www.ssww.com/pe-teacher for equipment and resources for Back to School!
About the Author:
Steve Lightman has been teaching for 15 years in Prince George’s and Montgomery County in Maryland. He is the 2015 Maryland Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance’s Simon A. McNeely Award recipient for outstanding teaching and community outreach. He resides in North Potomac, Maryland with his wife and 3 year old son.