Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Killjoy, Otherwise Known as Gym Class

We've all got one, a dreaded subject. Mine is Physical Education.

I never liked it as a child - too competitive, too much pressure, no choice, limited scope in what constituted "sport" and "active". I felt intimidated, like I wasn't sporty enough to even try, and that I didn't fit it. And I was active, but what school had canoeing or Irish Dance on the schedule? I'd hope to have an appointment or be slightly sick those days.

Until grade nine, that is, when my gym teacher, Mrs Perry, included dance, aerobics, friend-running (running at your own pace with a friend), hiking, swimming, yoga and sports exploration (try a bunch of sports, see if you like one, but don't worry if you're not going pro any time soon) in the curriculum. The pressure was off and the fun was on, and a whole lot of things I liked to do now counted.

When I found out I'd be teaching Phys Ed twice a week this year, my ten year old self came back, plotting ways to play hooky. But then I remembered Mrs Perry, her positive, fun attitude and honest belief that gym should be about being active while doing something you enjoy. Sure, building skills came into it, but the main idea was to get moving. And you know what? I loved that class. One of my favourite high school memories is when Sailor Girl and I made up a dance to I'll Be There for You by The Rembrandts. It was so much fun, and we got an A! 

we like to move it!
I took a page from her book and started planning. I want my students to have the Friends experience as opposed to the Old-school Football Coach. For me, age is the deciding factor. I've got really young students, so teaching layups and hoping for slam dunks is out of the question. So, in a lot of cases, is teamwork - they are developing their social skills, and just learning to play with each other, as opposed to near each other.

Instead, we work on motor skills and sportsmanship (playing nicely, following rules), and everyone has fun. We experiment with different materials, like balls, hoops, little bicycles, soft Frisbees and even very short stilts. They can swim or take a ballet movement class (let's call a spade a spade) once a week as well. We play statues, red light/green light, and other simple group games. It's Spain, after all, so we do play a version of football, where everyone has a ball and tries to shoot it into the net. On rainy days, we stretch, breath and relax, or sometimes bust the moves to our favourite songs. In short, we get moving. And we have fun. 

No comments:

Post a Comment