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I was recently challenged to come up with an effective physical education “elevator pitch.” What would I say in a brief twenty to sixty second speech – the time it takes an elevator to travel 4-5 floors – summarizing what physical education is and why it’s important?
People often ask me, “What do you do for a living?” This is the perfect elevator speech opening! If you’ve taught physical education for a while you know that when you tell people you teach physical education, they immediately reference their own physical education experiences either as a child or as a parent. Sadly, these experiences don’t always reflect positively or even accurately what’s happening in today’s quality physical education programs.
So, when someone asks, “What do you do for a living?” we all need to recognize that we’ve just been given the perfect setup for an elevator pitch to highlight the merits of physical education. What will you say? The success of your pitch depends on your ability to explain what makes physical education important, and in less than a minute, hook your listener.
As health and physical educators, it’s easy to feel frustrated by school district politics or sense a lack of support for your teaching. I completely understand and as a middle-high school health and physical educator I’ve been there many times myself. However, I also often think that as teaching professionals we don’t give ourselves enough credit.
We are in the business of creativity. Health and physical educators are routinely challenged to think outside the box. We constantly need to differentiate our instruction (sometimes 5 or more ways within a single activity), adapt to a wide variety of skill levels in our classes, and simultaneously manage and try to teach more students in small spaces that would give most classroom teachers nightmares!
Despite these impressive talents, we too often allow ourselves to get focused on the funding, or lack thereof, within our district. We think, “It sure would be nice to have a bigger budget or PEP grant! I could have a variety of climbing gear, fitness stations, on-line portfolios (I do love the portfolios. . .but have never had to pay for them), outdoor recreation and challenge course equipment, and so much more!”
No matter your political preference, the results of the 2016 election surprised everyone. And while I don’t claim to be a political pundit – why would I since pretty much every prediction was wrong – I believe physical and health educators should learn an important lesson from this recent election.
Regardless of what you might think about the qualifications of either candidate or the two parties they represent, what’s striking is how effective Mr. Trump was and how ineffective Mrs. Clinton was in capturing voting support.
Please click here to read the full essay that was originally published on the GOPHER PE Blog. What do you think? Share your comments below this essay on PHE America.
Over the years, I have heard many physical education teachers make statements such as, “Don’t they understand that we are different?” or “This doesn’t pertain to me, so why should I be here?” Comments like these are typically made when a policy or expectation is made for all faculty and the Physical Education teacher for some reason believes that he or she should be exempt from its implementation or participation.
While at times I understand why physical educators express these comments, personally I think this line of thinking is at the very least self-serving, and at the worst dangerous to us as a profession. It’s vital that we think of ourselves first and foremost as part of the school teaching community. And we need to act as such if we want others to value us as an important part of the educational system.
Most recently the concept of being different has centered around the implementation of Student Learning Objectives (SLO.) Many physical education teachers and administrators I speak with are opposed to the idea of giving a cognitive assessment as a measure of student growth in physical education.