Dear PETE/ HETE Student
Graduation day has arrived! You have waited the last several years for this moment, the start of your career. You are excited to begin applying for positions in physical and health education. After all teaching our youth about the importance of physical activity and how to live a healthy lifestyle is your passion! I am here to share with you what no one tells you. You may find yourself in the words that follow, or you may not. I am about to share with you things that were shared with me and things I have learned along the way.
Sub first! Yes, I said this and stick by those words. If you are lucky enough to secure a position right before or shortly after graduation congratulations! I say sub first because it is exactly what my education department shared with me and the rest of my class right before we graduated. At the time it was the most disheartening words I could hear. They were saying it in terms to build a network, however I am telling you this for more reasons than that. Subbing first does assist you with building a network in the community, this is true. I am telling you sub first, not just in your county but in the surrounding counties. Get into the classrooms do not exclusively sub for the pe and health teachers. Get in the school, get into the community and learn from everyone you meet. The network built from this may lead to a position that becomes available. It will also let you learn the culture and climate of your environment. Learning the culture of your community is very important! Doing so will lead to building relationships with your students, staff, and parents prior to receiving your first job.
Get your feet wet! You do not need to be involved in SHAPE America, your state organization, become a club advisor, Twitter teacher, start your own YouTube channel, TikTok, website, blog, or coach a sport in your first few years of teaching. I say this because you need to know not having your own everything to showcase you are knowledgeable in our field is okay. You are enough! You may feel pressure in your first year to provide fresh ideas, coach, or lead a club. You need to know it is okay to say no. It is okay to not choose to become heavily involved in everything you can get your hands on as soon as you sign your first teacher contract. Your chance to make a difference in the life of a child, community, or nation through actions will come. You have 30 + years of life to serve in your position. Please consider taking it slow before taking the dive.
You can use more than 1 curriculum! You do not need to stick to the curriculum your county purchased. It is the expectation you use it, but you can pair it with other resources such as Openphysed, Spark, KidsHealth, and Brain Pop. You can even have students read the material and create your own reading road maps to go along with the text. Make sure your assigned work follows your state standards. Use your community to assist you throughout the year with teaching certain subjects, invite the health dept to cover hygiene, local police dept to cover drugs, and a local athlete (professional or college level) to teach a specific skill. You can even collaborate with your own specials/related arts department (example: cardio drumming with the music teacher).
Focus on your growth! Teachers are always reflecting on their lessons. How we taught a lesson for one class may not be how we teach it 50 mins later to the next class. Reflect, collaborate with peers, and attend as many PD sessions as possible. There are a ton of resources out there for you to have free virtual PD opportunities. You can check out GOPHER sports, Spark, or OPEN for virtual PD’s. You can also look at your state organization’s site to see if they have past webinars, you can watch the recordings of current topics.
I share all of this with you to remind you, you have your whole life ahead of you. You can change positions as often as you like until you find the right one. You don’t need to be “Teacher of the Year” material right away. Learn who you are as a teacher, build relationships, learn the culture of your community, and then when you are ready dive into the other opportunities that will promote your growth as a professional educator. I support you and the journey you choose to take for yourself. You are enough just as you are and I am proud of you!
A teacher still learning- Valeri Cheseldine
This microblog post was a featured post in #slowchathealth’s #microblogmonth event. You can search for all of the featured posts here. Please do follow each of the outstanding contributors on social media (including Valeri Cheseldine, the author of this post) and consider writing a microblog post of your own to be shared with the global audience of slowchathealth.com
Pair this post with the following:
Advice to a New Teacher by Renee Reedhardt
A Poem About Stories by Amy Dawson
To the Teacher Class of 2021/2022 by Dr. Bob Knipe
Students in Action: Mental Health Awareness & Practicing Mindfulness by Valeri Cheseldine
Have you read the latest Book of the Month recommendation?