” I’m Just a PE Teacher”
How many of you have been in a situation where you have defended yourself with this statement.
At PHASE-AP recently, Carlos Galvez and I hosted a conversation with a room full of people talking about how we can add-on to what we do to advocate for PE at various levels.
We shared the common feelings that PE teachers have – feeling marginalised, left out of ‘core’ teacher conversations, left in the Gym, far away from the epi-centre of the school and staffrooms, not valued or understood by parents, administrators and other teachers. Pushed into coaching roles and not given the time to teach. Left with too many students, and not adequate cover when we are out of the classroom. It was revealing to listen to the same challenges across the room – even by those of us in a privileged position of being at a PE conference in Hong Kong.
In talking with my students this week, we looked at the Sphere of Influence and that to make a meaningful impact on something, we as people in a privileged position, need to consider the various levels of which we can impact and influence others.
Dr Ash Casey was in the room, and asked us about how we are creating a Legacy for PE at our school. When you leave your current school or your administrator (with whom you have fostered amazing goodwill and time to create the program you have) leave – will the changes that you have implemented sustain the program? At International schools, you can see teachers move on with regularity – if that were to happen at your school, would there be a Legacy of Meaningful PE continuing in your absence?
I found this article about Legacy in the Workplace – it resonated with me as we have just watched the World Cup Rugby but also consider what is expected at your workplace? Is that because it has always been done that way and is that consistent with the values you believe in?
In her recent Woman of the Year speech, Megan Rapinoe made it clear that she is going to use her influence and position of privilege to make herself heard. If you haven’t heard her yet, please do go here and listen for 6 minutes as she makes a very loud voice about advocating and being an ally to others who need a voice.
As advocates and allies of PE – what might we do in each of our spheres that will influence others to also be advocates and allies of meaningful and 21st Century PE – to offer experiences for our students that will grow them across the domains of learning – thoughtful, physically engaging and challenging lessons and units, that include a growing number of social interactions that allow them to solve problems together as well as build them as individual learners as they discover who they are and work out how they will fit into this World. PE must grow up and move away from the PE that came before us. It must be accessible for our students, in the communities in which they live. We must foster on those who CAN and do feel SAFE in PE that they are involved in including those that don’t feel safe or included in today’s current game-focused PE climate.
I would love to know what you are doing on all of these levels that might bring around the Legacy of Meaningful PE in your school or district or with your pre-service teachers – what might that look like? sound like?