The age gap between students and teachers can often make it difficult for the two to relate in an impactful way. Students will feel as if teachers do not understand them, and teachers can see students trying to be themselves as a kind of rebellion or disrespect.
At Harvest Elementary School in Madison County, Alabama, P.E. teacher Jared Paschall thought he could push through age boundaries by connecting with his students through their music. Recently the song “Watch Me” by Silento has been playing at clubs and parties across the country, specifically because of the directions to dance at certain parts of the song that make it easy for everyone to follow along.
Paschall heard the song and thought he could incorporate it into his class. Paschall incorporated some of the dances from the song, but also designed a full aerobics routine for his class. The students start the song by dancing to the ubiquitous whip and nae nae, a routine that uses simple arm and leg motions that many young kids are familiar with because they listen to it. Then instead of doing the songs regular dance movies, Paschall instructed his kids to switch between dancing, pushups, jumping jacks, lunges, and a variety of other standard gym exercises.
Paschall saw success in his classroom and decided to take a video of his students dancing and exercising in the hopes of sharing it with other teachers. The video went up on August 20, and has been viewed 737,446 times, with people across the country resonating with Paschall’s creativity and willingness to understand his students likes and dislikes and incorporate them into the classroom.
P.E. teachers would do well to emulate the work that Paschall is doing in his classroom not just as a means of better relating with their students, but of better teaching them too.