Physical Education Will Never Be the Same… or Will It?

COVID 19: “Things will never be the same.” I have heard that statement many times in the past three months. I decided that my brief thoughts should address that point of view today.

First, I must confess that I am an optimist and I always live with a ray of hope in my soul that even on my darkest days things will get better. Second, I believe that the human spirit is indomitable, or in simpler words, impossible to subdue or defeat. It is so easy to believe that the world is worse than it has ever been and that we live in the darkest of times compared to all others. Some people fear COVID and feel uneasy leaving their houses. Others say all social acts will disappear as people avoid touching, shaking hands and hugging. Without doubt, there will probably be some changes such as washing hands more frequently and avoiding crowds.

A side note: It appears to me that people are starting to believe that COVID will magically disappear. Looking at my television, it appears people are in close proximity and touching like times past, particularly once they start partying. We haven’t even cleared the second wave of COVID and many are saying they don’t need masks. Do I agree with this type of behavior? Not in the least and therefore I will take it upon myself to protect my personal health and the health of others. I encourage you all to do the same.

Let’s consider the statement that things will never be the same. As World War I was nearing an end, the 1918 flu epidemic broke out and killed over 50 million people. I am sure that in the midst of that terrible crisis many people believed life as they knew it was over. There would be no socialization, and everyone would go to work and go home living a dark and dreary lifestyle. However, guess what we called the 1920’s – The Roaring Twenties because people roared back and parties, dancing, and drinking characterized that era. People will always socialize and seek another person’s company and when the time is right, nearly all of us will come storming back and find ourselves eating in restaurants, dating, drinking, socializing, and chatting each other up. The human spirit will continue to thrive. I would guess that in the next few years, we will be doing a lot of things we did pre-COVID.

The Only Constant is Change

Change is inevitable. It isn’t going anywhere. You are going to have to live with it or choose to isolate yourself and be unhappy. Life waits for nobody. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is always a day away. Live in the present and have gratitude for what you have. All teachers are agents of change. It is your job to change students for the better. You are constantly urging and prodding your students to think about others, to be a responsible person, to never press for freedoms without thinking about how your decisions impact others. When you give kids new ideas and knowledge, you change their perception of the world. They will take that knowledge and work to make the world a better place for all. Change, change, change. And yet, isn’t it interesting that we often complain when an administrator proposes change, or a politician takes a point of view that is not in your self-interest, or your friend decides to grow as a person that you don’t understand or accept. Teachers are agents of change and yet many of us often try to keep everything the same. Even though we know that change is going to occur whether we like it or not. Why not take some of that energy you use to change your students and change your own way of thinking and living. As Bob Dylan sang 56 years ago, “The Times they are a Changing.” Believe me, you all have seen much change and will see a lot more in the future. .

Dr. Robert Pangrazi is a Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University and an Educational Consultant for Gopher Sport. Dr. Pangrazi has been in the education field over 50 years. He began his career as a 5th grade teacher and was an ASU professor of physical education for 32 years. Pangrazi has published over 60 textbooks and 100 research and professional articles. He has been an invited speaker at nearly 500 national and international conferences.

Dr. Robert Pangrazi is a Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University and an Educational Consultant for Gopher Sport. Dr. Pangrazi has been in the education field over 50 years. He began his career as a 5th grade teacher and was an ASU professor of physical education for 32 years. Pangrazi has published over 60 textbooks and 100 research and professional articles. He has been an invited speaker at nearly 500 national and international conferences.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Dr. Robert Pangrazi. I read your message over and over to let it really sink in. Yes, change is hard. I’ve been an elementary teacher for 32 years (special ed. 5, 2nd gr. 24, now physical education for 3 years. COVID 19’s distance learning, teaching physical ed. & health to K-4th graders in a small school district has been the biggest challenge I’ve faced over the years which has included many different curriculum changes as a ceritified teacher. Thank you so very much for these insights.

  2. Bob, you said it so on target! We need to just be optimistic and go from there. Thanks for always being a pillar of wisdom to our beloved profession! @MA_PETeacher

  3. Great article! I guess my issue is that we have so many innovative games and activities for our students sometimes 75 plus students in a class. I am sad to think that some of those activities will no longer be able to be utilized. In the beginning it will definitely be a challenge but in the end I am sure we will all be able to take things that we have done and find a modification for it!

  4. Thank you for this read. I’ve been teachin for 33 years.,Phsical Ed. and Health. This is a little scary but we always rise to the challenges Education gives us. The vision for September will be different and adapting to the change with students is all going to be new. I look forward to seeing my students and I have missed them so much. For P.E the computer is not our way of teaching but truly a learning experience for sure. Look forward to reading more. Thanks

  5. Thanks Dr Pangrazi. Our field of Physical Education has had to adapt in unique ways to remote learning and delivering our content. I’m the chair of a HPER department at a community college in New York and have led the department through this transition from face to face…to remote instruction. I’ve watched as faculty and students came together to learn new technology and achieve learning objectives even in highly experiential courses…The human spirit is certainly resilient as you point out!

    I wonder if in the short term there will be a more pronounced emphasis on physical fitness in physical education because the ability to practice social distancing vs sports where contact is an essential element of play. Obviously, a focus on drills and lead up activities instead of competetive game play in contact sports should be emphasized until normalcy ensues again.
    I’ve been using your 1920’s example as well…people sure seem to have forgotten about the pandemic quickly!…or at least it seems so looking back 100 years later!
    Thanks for your work and advocacy

  6. Thank you Dr. Pangrazi for your optimism and positive attitude. Your influence on the field of physical education is pronounced and in these times it is very reassuring to see your positive attitude and optimism shine through. I have listened to your gopher pod casts as well read your blog and find them to be very inspiring. The ideas shared by you and your guest speakers provide direction of how we can approach these changing times in a positive manner and make positive impacts on our students. Thank you for that and thank you to Gopher for continuing to promote these positive messages to the physical educators out there!!!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here