Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are Teachers Born or Made?

One of the many questions that I have been faced with while attending SUNY Cortland was whether I believe a teacher was born or made. In my second teaching block class, this was a question that our class worked together to try to answer. We first started by thinking of all of the qualities that make up a good teacher and then we decided on whether these qualities were born or made. We came to the conclusion that it is some of both. Teachers are born and made. The qualities that a teacher possesses are affective qualities that many people have, only to a varying degree though. Some people may naturally be more outgoing than others while some may be better at people skills. These skills to whatever degree are prerequisites to becoming a good teacher. Becoming a great teacher means taking these skills and improving and refining them so that you can make the learning environment a place that maximizes learning for your students while keeping it enjoyable.

If you think of all of the teachers that you have ever had, you most likely have had good teachers and bad teachers. When you think of the qualities of the good teachers compared to the bad teachers, the good teachers probably had many positive affective characteristics that made going to their class enjoyable for everyone. Many of these teachers may naturally have a knack for teaching while others may have previously had these skills to a small extent and then worked on them over and over again in order to become the good teachers that they are today. This strive to become a good teacher and be very motivated to be a great teacher, I believe, is a born quality.

When I look back to all of the teachers that I have had, I can easily tell the good teachers who have worked to make their teaching skills better. They make the class enjoyable and usually, when I went to their classes, I the class flew by and I never looked at the clock to see how much more time I had to sit through the class. I also remember the bad teachers that I have had. I remember sitting in a world history class and it was brutal. The teacher did not make learning fun so I made it interesting by counting how many times she said "uh" or "um". It was a 50 minute class and I only counted for the last 25 minutes and I counted an astonishing 56 times that she said either of those words. This was only half of the class period mind you. Because the teacher did not have the best teaching qualities, the learning environment was not fun and interesting which made me lose focus on whatever she was teaching.

All of the best teachers in the world have practiced and refined their skills to become better teachers than what they were in the past. This shows how teachers are made. However, it is very difficult take someone who does not have the naturally born qualities and will to become a teacher and make them a teacher. This is why teachers need to be a combination of born and made. I believe that good teachers are born and made while the not so good teachers are just made.

What do you think? Are teachers born or made?

Friday, October 21, 2011

What Makes a Good Coach?

Being a Physical Education teacher, you will most likely be given a chance to coach a sports team at the school that you are teaching at. But what makes a good coach? Everyone has probably had good and bad coaches during their sports career. Coaching is a lot like teaching in that fact that you are helping your players refine their skills in whatever sport you are coaching so that they can become better players and compete at higher levels of competition. However, in coaching, there is a much higher emphasis on competition and winning, especially as the level of competition increases, such as competition in middle school compared to competition in high school sports. This is one of the main differences between coaching and teaching.

Coaches have many of the qualities that teachers have due to the similarity of the jobs. To me, a good coach is someone who is knowledgeable about the sport that they are coaching and they are able to relate to their players so that they can effectively teach their players the necessary skills to be successful. Coaches need to be able to communicate efficiently to their players as well as the other coaches due to the fact that they may need to make split second decisions during a game.

Along with knowing strategy and how to perform and teach skills to their players, some of the most important qualities that a coach must have are in the affective category. Coaches need to be able to know their players and have empathy for them. This is crucial for being able to relate to their players. A coach also needs to be caring and trustworthy. Players need to know that a coach has their best interest at heart and that in time when they need him, the players can count on the coach.

As a coach, you spend 2 or more hours a day with your players and you get to know them well. Knowing your players will help you make decisions and it will also help you when it comes to trying to improve team chemistry. Many sports teams have team bonding days where players get to know each other and build trust among players. A goal that a coach must have is to take their team and turn it into a little "family". This comes with spending time with the players and getting all your players to trust and confide in one another. Many times this is easier said than done, which is why a coach needs to have the skills to be able to bring the players together and to get them to work together in order to be successful. Throughout my life I have witnessed many teams that have an amazing amount of individual talent, however, they are not as successful as they could be because their team chemistry is very low. I believe that team chemistry is an aspect of the team that separate the good teams from the great teams. I have coached a few teams and I plan on continuing to coach in the future and this is one thing that I am really going to focus on with all of my future teams.

I know that there are good coaches that possess more qualities than this; these mentioned were just a few. I was lucky enough to have many good coaches when I played sports all throughout my life. Having good past coaches is one reason why I would like to coach. They have had such an impact on my life, I would love to be able to do the same to my future players.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Exergaming in Phys. Ed.

Exergaming is a great way to bring technology into the classroom. The response of the students tells it all in this video. They love coming into class and they have a great time dancing. By using this type of technology in Physical Education, the students are getting a great workout without really thinking about it while they are doing it. The addition of using pedometers, like the teachers in this video did, is another great way to keep students active. By using pedometers, you can set step goals for the students in your class and you can keep track of their progress over the year. Nowadays children love playing video games so being able to use that to your advantage to get them to become active is a great skill.

I believe that if possible, schools should try to utilize this type of technology in the classroom when they can. It makes it fun for the students and it provides the students with great physical activity benefits.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Professional Conferences

In any profession it is always important to continue to learn and get better at what you do. As Physical Educators, we have many of opportunities ranging from observing other teachers in their classroom to attending national conferences. This past Friday, SUNY Cortland held a NYS mini-conference where teachers could come and attend sessions to learn new activities and skills that they could incorporate back in their own schools as well as listen to a keynote speaker. This year the keynote speaker was Dr. Sarah Armstrong. Her presentation focused on the connection between physical activity and the brain. I found her presentation to be very interesting and it provided good information to strengthen the argument that physical activity is crucial for learning. This is good for us as Physical Educators because during the average school day, we only have each student around 45 minutes, sometimes even less. We can incorporate other subjects into physical education to help our students, but also being able to give other classroom teachers ways to help their students learn by getting them physically active in the classroom is a very good thing.

We are very lucky as students to have been able to attend this conference and get all of the benefits from it from a variety of excellent Physical Educators. By attending conferences like these, you are able to not only learn new skills to put to practice in your own job, but we students can use this opportunity to start networking. In a very competitive field of Physical Education where there are many graduates looking for jobs and not too many jobs are available, we should take every opportunity we can in order to expand our networks which could possibly help us land a job in the near future.

Conferences are a perfect way for all teachers to be up to date and on the same page on what is going on in the various schools around the nation. This helps teachers keep a type of consistency in schools throughout the nation on what the students are being taught and assessed on. This helps us Physical Educators establish more standards for our profession thereby establishing more legitimacy for Physical Education.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Technology and Physical Activity

Technology has provided hundreds of millions of people with entertainment as well as making daily living tasks much easier than they were decades ago. Technology has allowed for much easier and convenient communication between everyone in the world. Computers, cell-phones, ipads, video games, etc. have many positives and negatives to each. Personally, I believe that technology has made people much lazier over the years. People let technology do a lot of the simple work for them rather than doing it themselves.

I never really picked up on playing video games all the time when I was younger. My brothers played them all of the time. Yes, they are fun to play once in a while, however I would much rather be playing a game outdoors, such as basketball or soccer, with my friends rather than playing with them on a video game in a room. All my life when I was younger, my parents urged me to go outside and play instead of playing video games and I thank them for it. I think my parents influence is part of what gave me a respect for physical activity and part of the reason why I value my physical activity experiences so much. I am going to try to have the same effect on my future physical education students that my parents had on me.

Video games have had a huge impact on the physical activity level of many younger children. Many children spend their free time playing video games instead of getting out of their house and playing games and interacting with their friends. I think this is horrible, especially with the rise in the amount of children becoming obese. As Physical Education teachers, we are able to teach our students about the effects of leading a sedentary lifestyles and what can happen if they do not participate in physical activity on a regular basis.

There is a way that, as a physical educator, we can use the technology, such as the video games that the students like, in a constructive manner. There are games such as DDR (dance-dance-revolution) and the Wii fit games that, if affordable for school districts, we can use in class to get our students active and show them that there are some video games that have a physical activity benefit to them. By bringing the technology into the classroom, it provides teachers with a way to relate to their students better and this method may have a more positive effect on their students. This method relates to the New York State Learning standard 3 because the teacher is providing students with outside resources and opportunities that students can utilize to continue being active outside of just the classroom.

There is no way that technology is ever going to disappear and the possible negative effects that can come from it can effect anyone. Accepting it and knowing how to use it to your advantage is a great skill for a teacher to have because there are going to be some things that you are not going to be able to change and being able to handle them positively is essential.