Masters in Education, B.S. Physical Education
What is your current job?
I teach Physical Education to grades K–6 at Jackson Preparatory Magnet School in the St. Paul Public School District.
Are you using your degree in any other ways in your life?
I have done summer program coordinating for Parks and Recreation. I also help with camps at my church during the summer.
What do you like about your job?
- I like that everyday is totally different.
- I love that I get to teach the students the importance of being physically fit and living a healthy lifestyle.
- The diversity of the students in my building. I feel like I learn something new everyday about the different cultures.
- Collaborating with the music teacher. We do some team teaching with the K–2 graders with music and movement and we also teach a dance unit to 3–6 graders.
- There is usually something that a student does or says each day that makes being a teacher worth it!!
What are your current challenges?
- There are days that I feel like I am spending more time teaching social skills (getting along, manners, dealing with conflict, etc.) than I do teaching physical education.
- Language barriers with some students.
- I said above that I love that I get to teach the students the importance of being physically fit yet this is also a challenge since kids today are more interested in their computers and video games.
- Getting all the staff “on board” with promoting the importance of physical education. There are some who think of it as just “gym” and a place to drop their kids off and the kids pick up on that attitude.
What’s a typical day for you?
- Before school starts I am greeting students as they come in the building for breakfast.
- My prep time is split. I get ½ hour in the morning and another ½ hour at the end of the day.
- I teach six classes a day each lasting 50 minutes (the kindergarten classes are split into 25 minutes so we get to see them every other day).
- There are weeks that I have a “duty” before and/or the end of the school day. These duties might include bus, hall and gym.
- I help with student council and am part of a Wellness Committee so there are days that my prep time is spent completing projects for them.
- I try and get things in order for the next day before leaving work. I do not like having that rushed feeling in the morning. There always seems to be something that you end up having to run around and do before the first class starts.
Do you have any recommendations for current students?
Take as many opportunities as you can to get out into the schools and see first hand what teaching is all about. You will be taking a lot of very useful information in from your classes and professors but it will also be helpful to hear from those out in the field.
What were some of your biggest surprises?
Teaching in an urban school district has brought many surprises. When I started teaching I did not think much about language barriers. I have had students who did not speak any English when starting at our school and have had to learn how to communicate with them.
Some of the students that I teach do not know the basic skills of physical fitness (throwing, catching, etc.) that you would think they would know before starting school. They do not have the opportunities to “play” and explore like some other children due to family life, living environment, etc.
I can’t say that this is a total surprise but the lack of social skills that the students display has increased.