The Education of a Gym Teacher

December 05, 2012

When I started at CMS I had never taught a physical education (PE) class before. Luckily, Ibrahim Mahmud was here to show me the ropes (literally and figuratively). Not being that far removed from PE classes myself, I wanted to make sure gym induced joy and excitement, not grumbles and groans.

I discovered right away the passion and exuberance our community has for dynamic play. The student enthusiasm was infectious, and I found myself delighting in finding new and exciting ways to challenge them. They taught me Castleball, which caused me to re-imagine Castleball combined with hockey and dodgeball, which resulted in Dodge Castlockey (named by Hana, a since departed Middle Schooler). As games become old hat (if Hula Hoop tag were an Olympic sport, we'd have swept the medals), I am constantly challenged to find new games, which has lead to professional development opportunities (Project Adventure in Beverly is a tremendous resource), and personal growth (reading Spark, the book that inspired the BOKS program, caused me to join a gym).

What began five years ago as a fun gig has become a lifestyle. I've discovered that the common stereotype of childhood gym trauma providing the fuel for future therapy sessions and gym teachers as cruel disciplinarians with a whistle couldn't be farther from the truth (although I am a firm believer in the attention-getting power of a whistle). As I've preached to dozens of eye-rolling friends, the muscle that benefits the most from exercise is the brain (okay technically the brain is an organ, but you catch my drift). A lesson I would never have learned had I never taught gym at CMS.

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