Physical education is a critical component to any student curriculum. Although physical education was often an undervalued and underappreciated component of a student’s education in the past, it is now being recognized and appreciated as being just as crucial to a child’s development as other academic courses of study.
Like similar subjects, physical education is based upon a set of rigorous national standards that work to educate the whole student. However, unlike other academic forms of study, physical education provides students with the opportunity to understand the importance of physical activity while developing motor and fitness skills.
PE Teacher Careers by State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
The Importance of Quality Physical Education Programs
Through a comprehensive physical education program, students are introduced to individualized, developmentally appropriate instructional programs that allow them to gain confidence and engage in activities that promote healthy, active lifestyles throughout their lives.
Competent and highly skilled and trained physical education teachers and well-developed physical education programs in schools nationwide are garnering more attention as studies consistently show a marked increase in obesity across the country, particularly among children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that regular physical activity during childhood improves strength and endurance; helps control weight; controls anxiety and stress; increases self-esteem; and may even decrease cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Further, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that young people (ages 6 to 17) participate in daily physical activity for at least 60 minutes.
School districts throughout the United States are also recognizing the need to improve and enhance their physical education programs as more data emerges that physical education in a student’s curriculum has positive effects on academic learning through an increase in oxygen and glucose delivery to the brain.
National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) Standards
Physical education teacher jobs involve incorporating the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) standards and using them to engage students in in-depth and engaging learning experiences that focus on everything from problem solving and decision making to authentic movement problems and motor skill competencies.
The National Standards for Physical Education, although not mandatory, are often used by physical education teachers as a framework when developing their own comprehensive physical education curricula. Thus, it is up to skilled physical education teachers, along with school district personnel, to ensure that the physical education program is well suited to the school’s specific needs, challenges, and opportunities.
Physical education teachers ensure the physical education curriculum promotes a physically active lifestyle; develops cooperation, teamwork, and sportsmanship; and provides ample opportunity for students to engage in regular physical activity that promotes normal growth and development.
Although the job of a physical education teacher will differ somewhat based on the grade level being taught, all physical education teachers are responsible for providing students with a foundation in health and physical education that focuses on strength, conditioning, and stretching through individual, dual, and team sports.
Physical Education Teacher Job Description and Daily Duties
The job description and daily duties of a physical education teacher includes the following:
- Measure student progress to encourage the mastery of school district/state/national standards
- Celebrate individual and collective accomplishments by teaching the importance of self-improvement
- Create appealing lessons that implement a variety of methodologies
- Cultivate student awareness and ownership of personal performance
- Design, plan, and implement physical education lessons based on school district/state/national standards
- Encourage teamwork as to set collective and personal development goals
- Ensure accommodations and modifications are made for the growth and development of all students
- Ensure that the physical education environment is clean, safe and constructive for all students
- Teach knowledge and skills in physical fitness, rhythms and dance, health education, and individual, dual and team sports
Competent and capable physical education teachers are professionals who:
- Are able to communicate their expectations to students and families and work with them to ensure they are achieving personal goals
- Consistently address the needs of individuals students
- Demonstrate the use of proven, research-based strategies for effective classroom management, lesson planning, active student engagement, and instructional delivery
- Support a school’s share vision and common goals regarding physical education and physical activity
Ongoing, daily duties of physical education teachers include:
- Employing a variety of instructional techniques and instructional media that is consistent with the physical limitations, needs, and capabilities of individuals students and/or groups of students
- Guiding students in maintaining acceptable standards of classroom behavior
- Maintaining records of individual student achievement and evaluating students on a continuous basis
- Meeting and instructing assigned classes at designated times
- Preparing for classes and maintaining written evidence of preparation
- Upholding and enforcing school rules, school board policies, and administrative regulations
- Working with other members of the physical education staff to plan instructional goals, objectives, and methods