6 Learned Lessons to Take With You Next School Year [Interactive]

[0:03] I have some reflective thoughts and lesson learned from COVID-19 that I would like to share.

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

[0:32] The first thing I don’t want us to lose out on is celebrating another academic year. I think we typically celebrate this type of year with some positivity and reflecting, and I think that shouldn’t be any different. I hear lots of teachers saying “yes, this is my last Zoom! Zoom is over!” And I really get that sentiment, but I want us to take a second to be positive and I say this for a few reasons:

[0:54] One, I hope you’re proud. You worked hard. You turned on a dime and taught kids. You love students and you help lead them through an unprecedented time in this country, in this world that was scary for many of them, and you were there, and I think we should be proud of that.

[1:11] Another thing I want us to think about with respect of what’s happened in the last three years and as we move forward from this pandemic and what we’ve had to go through in schools in the last three months is that regardless of what your school looks like next year, some of the skills that you learned you’re going to be using and you’re gonna be used them to make yourself a better teacher and I say this because I think there’s a lot of lessons learned. Let me go through some of the ones that I just thought of:

1. Students Are Individuals

[1:38] Students are individuals. Some really, really like this online learning, and some didn’t like it at all. Some took time to learn in this new way. Some jumped right in and guess what? These are the same students that are coming back next year to you, and I hope we’ve learned through this to really focus on students differently and focus on students as individuals.

2. You CAN Teach with Technology

[2:03] Another lesson learned is that you can teach and teach with technology and that for some of us that was a real challenge and we overcame it. So why stop using that technology? We used it effectively, so why stop using that? Even if students come back to us and are face-to-face in our gym with us?

3. Connecting with Students IS Important

[2:20] I know a lot of you realize during this time that your students miss you. You figured out ways to connect with them other than face-to-face when it wasn’t ideal. You learned about some of your students in a way that was never possible without eLearning. You learned about their pets. You learned about their parents. You learned about their home life and that wouldn’t have happened without this and some students you never heard from and you miss them. Don’t forget these lessons learned because as we go back into teaching in some way, shape, or form – connecting with students is important. Face-to-face or with eLearning.

4. Students Are Full of New Ideas

[2:56] Something else that was a lesson learned at least for me is that your students have lots of great ideas for movement. Why have them stop sharing if you come back face-to-face? Find out their ideas, share those ideas, share them on a bulletin board. Sharing the ideas that students have great ways to be active and they can share those ideas with their peers and it’s a great way to promote physical activity.

5. Don’t Forget to Encourage Activity at Home

[3:22] Something else I noticed from the COVID pandemic from the get go is that physical education teachers had shown their students a lot of ways to be active at home. Make sure we don’t forget that when we come – if they’re face-to-face with us or if we’re doing hybrid or if we’re doing all eLearning. Remember the ways that you showed them and continue to show them ways to be active at home. Again, as I said earlier, they can share their ways to be active as well.

6. Take Action Now!

[3:47] The last thing I want to say is to take these lessons learned and use them immediately, create a flexible plan and be proactive for your administrators. Go to them. They’re stressed to let them know how you can help and your plan for Physical Education no matter what happens, make a plan based on the needs of students. It might not look exactly like you want it to look, but have in mind what is best for the students right now in my school given the situation and given these guidelines.

[4:17] Granted, you will always have an on eye for what is an ideal physical education program, but right now your focus is doing what’s best for kids during this time of transition. So as you head into the summer of 2020, first of all be proud and also reflect. What the lessons learned from COVID-19 that could be used next school year. We’d love to hear them. 

Aaron is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion at the University of Kentucky. He is a trainer for physical education faculty, after-school staff, early child care staff and youth sport coaches and has co-authored several national documents including CDC's Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool and NASPE's Comprehensive School Physical Activity Promotion: A Position Statement. Beighle is the co-author of four books; Promoting Physical Activity and Health in the Classroom, Pedometer Power, Pedometer Power 2nd ed., Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School Children. He's also served on the National Physical Activity Plan Education Sector Committee and the NASPE Task Force.

Aaron is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion at the University of Kentucky. He is a trainer for physical education faculty, after-school staff, early child care staff and youth sport coaches and has co-authored several national documents including CDC's Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool and NASPE's Comprehensive School Physical Activity Promotion: A Position Statement. Beighle is the co-author of four books; Promoting Physical Activity and Health in the Classroom, Pedometer Power, Pedometer Power 2nd ed., Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School Children. He's also served on the National Physical Activity Plan Education Sector Committee and the NASPE Task Force.

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