Nearly anyone who has ever gone to school possesses a recollection of a physical education teacher. Whether the physical education teacher that floats around in your memory is a too-short-short-wearing middle-aged man, a pert and perky ex-cheerleader or someone less stereotypical, you likely remember the drills you were led through and the lessons in fitness this expert in the field tried to cram into your noggin. While the field of physical education is continually evolving, physical education teachers today tackle some of the same tasks that you likely remember from your time climbing the rope and running laps.
Keep Kids Moving
Gym class should be a time of constant movement and continued elevated heart rates. For many, however, gym class memories feature long periods of standing idle and waiting for the opportunity to participate. Contemporary P.E. teachers are expected to think outside the box and come up with activities that can keep kids moving from bell to bell. This often means breaking a larger class up into smaller groups, thus ensuring that all members of the class have the opportunity to participate at the same time.
Make Lessons Accessible
The students that fill a physical education classroom rarely have the same abilities. It is the duty of a physical education teacher to plan lessons that are modifiable to meet the needs of students regardless of skill. This means crafting lessons that challenge students with natural physical prowess but can be modified to be within the ability range of low-ability or even physically-handicapped students.
Participate in Program Development
The physical education teacher should be a champion for all types of physical fitness. Along with teaching classes, this individual is commonly expected to participate in the development or continuation of sports or other physical activity promoting extra-curricular activities. Though not entirely requisite, physical education teachers are also commonly expected to be a member of the school wellness committee, serving as an expert in the field of kinesthetic and general wellness.
Monitor Student Safety
If students don’t follow safety guidelines, they subject themselves to potentially serious injuries. It is the duty of the physical education teacher to ensure that their students -- who may be prone to making up their own rules -- abide by the safety rules she establishes. By ensuring student adherence to these rules through constant monitoring and, when necessary, correction, physical education teachers can reduce the prevalence and severity of injuries.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.