Physical education teachers, commonly known as Phys Ed or P.E. teachers, are responsible for the education of primary and secondary school students in physical activity and psychomotor learning. The physical education class was once little more than an organized recess; however, physical education teachers now engage students in much more than game play. Recent developments have steered the physical education curriculum towards the goal of overall wellness and teachers now incorporate health and nutrition topics into their classes.
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Generally, physical education teachers instruct students in a variety of physical activities relevant to curriculum requirements. While teachers are typically allowed to create their own course syllabi, those outlines must adhere to school guidelines as well as the curriculum standards set out by governing bodies in the state, region or country.
When planning course outlines, physical education teachers include sports games and physical fitness techniques. A growing number of institutions will also require teachers to include classroom instruction on general physical health and well being as well as proper nutrition practices. Course content varies by age group.
After creating a lesson plan, a physical education teacher's responsibility is to motivate students to participate in prescribed activities. Teachers then evaluate the student's performance, attitude and level of physical fitness. These factors affect the student's grade, with attitude traditionally having a much greater weight than inherent physical ability. Teachers must be able to effectively evaluate these attributes in order to fairly grade their students. In addition to daily or weekly grades, students are evaluated in periodic tests that give teacher's a better picture of the student's overall health and level of athletic skill.
Physical education teachers have a regular schedule. When not instructing students in the gymnasium or in the school's outdoor recreation area, teachers work in their office or attend school meetings. P.E. teachers also benefit from summer and mid-session breaks, depending on the school system's unique schedule. Usually breaks are long enough to allow teachers the opportunity to pursue other pursuits, such as coaching organized sports.
While P.E. teachers do spend much of the time in their office engaged in meetings and completing paperwork, they must maintain a moderate degree of physical fitness in order to effectively teach in their area of the curriculum. Physical education teachers are often given the responsibility of moving and maintaining heavy exercise equipment and, furthermore, teachers who are in good physical shape act as positive role models for their students.
Other responsibilities physical education teachers must also accept are duties delegated between all teachers in the school such as lunch room and recess supervision. Teachers must also monitor the hallways, participate in after-school events and perform bus duties when necessary. Periodic faculty meetings and parent-teacher conferences are also mandatory.
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The one curricular area in education that you might not expect to be embracing the current wave of technological “enhancements” for students in today’s classroom is physical education.
The physical educator is to provide maximum physical activity time within the class period, teach skills and activities that transfer into physical activity outside of physical education class, motivate children to be physically active, and take the role of physical activity director for the school.
Maybe there’s a teacher you had that inspired you. Or maybe you’re motivated to be better than anyone who taught you. Either way, there are some important considerations when it comes to considering a career in PE teaching.
Whether they're instructing school kids on gymnastics, physical fitness or basketball, physical education teachers are responsible for helping students develop strength, agility, flexibility and endurance.
Graduating with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education from an accredited college or university is required to become a gym teacher.