Dear Physical Education Student Teacher,
You are about to undertake a challenge that many people undervalue and most misunderstand. Sadly, you may actually be one of them. Despite having spent your last four years in professional preparation where faculty have attempted to instruct you about what it means to be a teacher, you will still enter the profession aspiring to emulate the teachers, coaches and programs that molded you as an adolescent.
At this beginning stage of your career, you still see physical education teaching through immature eyes: the eyes of a successful mover, athlete, leader or team player. You aren’t seeing the challenge ahead of you through the eyes of a teacher: a mature professional focused on helping all students. You mostly see only those students that reflect your image and are blind to the less skilled students who are awkward, shy and hesitant to engage. You see success as the number of athletes that gravitate toward you, rather than the number of physically literate children that grow up to become health conscious adults.
When you happen to meet a former student out in public, do you ever wonder what is going through their mind? What do they remember from you and your classes? Does what they now remember after having you as their teacher match what you wanted them to learn from you?
In short, what do you want your legacy to be? Here’s a hint: Don’t wait. Your legacy starts now! Whether you are a new teacher or not so new, and whether you want it to or not, your legacy is under construction! All of us should be asking ourselves, “What do we want our former students to take from their experiences in our classes?”
What I encourage you to think about is not whether you were “popular” with your former students or they viewed you as their “friend.” But rather, what’s the most important thing you want them to remember from their time with you? Is it a certain set of skills? A particular attitude? Knowledge? Or something completely different?
Thanks! First of all, we would like to thank the 400 folks who attended the 2017 National PE & School Sport Institute this summer. We were overwhelmed to have such a large group of terrific participants representing 37 different states and 10 foreign countries. Many thanks to everyone who was able to attend, participate or present, and for sharing your insights with all of us!
Mark Your Calendars! The 2018 dates have been set for July 23-25, 2018. As always, we will gather on the beautiful, hill-top campus of the University of North Carolina Asheville during this time. We are very fortunate to have all of the many unique and special tourist attractions that the City of Asheville affords as a comfortable backdrop for this annual summer event.
(Publisher’s Note: In the following essay, Dr. Earle Zeigler shares with PHE America readers his thoughts on the status of physical education today and what he thinks the profession should do to advance. Now aged 98, Dr. Zeigler has for many years been one of the profession’s most prolific, respected, and influential scholars (check out his Biography here). Earle tells me this will likely be one of his final professional contributions. Enjoy, reflect on Earle’s ideas, and please share with colleagues. I know that Earle would enjoy reading your own thoughts if you post them in the comments section below the essay~Steve)
What should the field of physical (activity) education promote in the 21st Century? Knowing that unpredictable social forces will bring unanticipated change, what can we as professionals do in the years immediately ahead to ensure that our field along with educational sport is fully recognized in educational circles throughout the world? I believe that the positive steps we choose should consist of actions that will result in purposeful accomplishments by the men and women who are concerned about the future of developmental physical activity as a valuable component of human life from “womb to tomb.”
The following recommended actions are based on where I believe the profession is today and what needs to be done. We should seek worldwide consensus on these recommendations and agreement on what it’s going to take to achieve them. Then, as dedicated professional educators at all levels, we should take as rapid and strong action as we can muster working closely with our professional associations.
This multiple award-winning documentary shows the irreplaceable role classical Physical Education plays to develop smart, productive & mentally stable citizens, and the out-of-control consequences we face today with its absence in our society.
The United States made the decision to stop teaching real physical education 100 years ago. JFK tried to bring it back, but the effort ended with his shortened Presidency.
This documentary links the largest problems facing the US today to its current state of physical illiteracy, which comes as a consequence of no longer having educators, business leaders, or citizens understand how exercise (and particularly group exercise) can be used to solve our most pressing issues including how the US spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world, has the highest incidents of mental instability, the highest national debt, incarcerates 25% of the world’s prisoners with only 4% of the population, has the worst productivity since the 1970’s, the worst education rank since the 1970’s and amongst the worst life expectancy of the OECD countries.