As another school year is upon us, I think to myself what can I do to make this year the best possible experience for my students. My ultimate goal is to inspire my students to enjoy movement as they grow towards being happy active adults. One of the most important things that I've learned over the years is to be flexible with how and what I teach.
When I first began teaching, I spent a many years doing the same units year in and year out. I taught what I knew best, which was for the most part team sports. As I've matured and become more confident in my abilities, I've tried to become more flexible in what is being taught in P.E. How have I done this you ask? By empowering my students to have a voice in the games we play, sharing in the topics we discuss, and by listening to their ideas about what inspires them to move.
For example the student above wanted to do backbends during warm-ups. By the way, her flexibility is amazing. In the past, I would have said that we would wait until our gymnastics unit to do backbends. Why should we wait? So I told the student, sure we could do backbends. But we would need a few options for the students who couldn't do a backbend or kickover. In the end the student came up with the idea of having kids try to do a table, bridge, or backbend. In the end everyone was happy. It only took a short amount of time to get a kid invested into class, plus she helped lead some of the instruction for her peers.
This is just one small example of the positive benefits of being flexible as a teacher. In addition, I do a Create A Game Document, which allows kids to create games that we play in P.E. Students also have a chance to earn student chosen activities by following classroom expectations. If you take anything away from this, please make sure to listen to your students and be open to trying new things. In the long run, it will help you meet the diverse needs of your students.