Norman Elementary's New *STAR* Teacher is...
How many years have you been teaching?
This is my 9th year at Reed City, my 7th year teaching. My first two years I held the position of Community Education Director/Athletic Director. Then I went into the classroom at the Middle School as an 8th grade Social Studies teacher/AD. I have been at GT Norman for the last six years as a 3-4-5 PE teacher.
What is your best memory?
I have a lot of great memories. My best memories are when I have former students come back to visit me. To see how they have grown from children to young men and women really helps to reinforce that as a teacher, I had a small part in guiding them to where they are and to where they are going in the future.
What is the funniest memory?
Unfortunately this memory is at the expense of my colleague and mentor, Doug Emington. The second and only year that we used Ferris State University’s pool for our swimming curriculum. We had spent the weeks leading up to our swim days and the actual day that we went, pounding into the kids heads that safety is of utmost importance when dealing with water/pools. Doug was putting equipment away and made a gesture jokingly to mess with the kids. When he did, he slipped on the wet pool deck, fell, and broke his nose. Nobody really saw what happened because it happened that quick. We still say that is the only real injury we have had in the 5 years we have taken our students for swim safety.
Can you share a PE best practice?
The thing that I think is important to make sure PE is a safe and productive environment are classroom rules and procedures. The gymnasium is really just a big classroom. I spend the first two weeks of every year on making sure the students know what my rules and procedures are. I stress the importance of keeping the gym a safe place to learn and what my expectations are of them as students in my classroom. It is much easier to teach in a large area when everyone knows what they are to be doing at all times. Then I can focus on teaching skills to the students and it is safe for all involved.
Share why you like being a PE teacher?
What I like the most about being a PE teacher is that my class is the one class where almost all the students like to go. My students all see me in the hall or outside of school and always want to know what we are going to do next in class. Its nice to have that kind of excitement everyday about my class. The students definitely bring great energy every single day and makes my job one of the best to have. I have many friends who are jealous of what I do.
What advice do you have for teachers just coming into the field?
My advice isn’t just for PE teachers, but for teachers in general. Make sure you have a strong classroom management plan. Students are smarter than we give them credit for. If the students know they can do or get away with something, they will. Have a plan and stick to it. Be flexible enough to adjust it as needed, all students are different, so one plan will not work for everyone.
Also, have fun, we forget this sometimes because we get caught up in the daily grind. Teaching is demanding and rewarding. Enjoy what you do, if you are having fun, it makes all the actual work you do to be a good teacher not really seem like work.
Pictures from Brian's "Classroom"
Thanks for sharing your students, advice and memories!