Gym teachers adjust to e-learning

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Remote learning has posed many challenges for students, teachers, and administrators, but the Physical Education program has had to completely rethink how to operate under e-learning.
PE is one of the most hands-on, interactive classes that the school offers, so the department knew they had to make some changes. The department has met and discussed how they were going to use this opportunity to reimagine what PE looks like, and how they wanted to implement it during remote learning.
“We are using this time to focus on some things or topics that maybe will get neglected,” says teacher Kelly Collins. “In times like these that are crazy and uncertain, many may be experiencing different stressors, and we hope we can provide tools and strategies that can help students maintain a healthy lifestyle apart from physical exercise.”
So far, students have been encouraged to engage in physical activity they can complete at home. Teachers encourage students to go on walks or runs, provide videos of no-equipment workouts, and even set up geocaching activities. Getting physically engaged can release endorphins, which decrease anxiety.
With a larger focus on mental and social emotional health, the teachers still hope to involve the physical aspect of the class. “We know that things are a lot different and that kids will miss activities such as swimming, self defense, and rock climbing, but we are going to all try our best to involve some sort of physical aspect. There are just some things that you can’t bring to life virtually,” says Collins.
Surveys and questionnaires were sent out asking students what activities they enjoy doing, what they would like to do in class, and what resources/equipment they have access to. “We are trying to get a feel for what the class should look like,” says Collins. “This is something we have never done before and we understand that it will be difficult.”
Many students may miss the social aspect of in-person PE, as it is a more nonchalant setting to meet other students than intensive academic courses. This feeling is also projected onto the teachers, explains Collins, “One of the things I love about my job is getting to interact and have conversations with my students, and it is challenging to do that over a screen. We all need to try to maintain a positive attitude even though it’s not easy.”

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