Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Physical Education Philosophy

            As a professional educator there are 5 main beliefs for what I do and for what I value in the field of physical education. These 5 main beliefs are respect, active participation, inclusion, lifetime activities, and healthy lifestyles.
            Respect is an important aspect of any part of life. Having respect for others is key to receiving respect from others. In physical education, respect if important because of the large amount of social interaction that takes place due to the amount of physical activity being performed. It is also important because of the wide variety of skill levels that are present in each class and the difference in personalities of each student. If students are respectful to each other on a constant basis, the chance that bullying will arise decreases dramatically and the environment that the students are participating in will be a very positive one for everyone. This is very important for student learning because if the learning environment is a positive one, then the students will focus on the learning, instead of the environment they are in.
            My next main belief that I have for physical education is participation. A lot of times, when people think of participation in physical education, it just means getting dressed to participate. When I use the term participation, it means not only to get dressed and ready for class, it also means that my students actively participate in whatever we are doing during class that day. It means working with other students, staying on task, and students doing their very best in whatever they are working on, among many other things. So it is not just participation, it is active participation.
            In order to get all of the students to participate and enjoy physical education, it is imperative that you have a way to reach all of your students and to be able to challenge them so that they can keep on succeeding and having fun. Inclusion in physical education is essential. This means being able to modify the activities that you have planned for class so that all of your students can be working on a skill that they need to practice all of the time. This is very important whenever you may have a student with a disability in your class. By being able to modify activities that your regular physical education class is doing, in most cases you will be able to include the student with a disability into that class. By being able to have something for students of all skill levels to do and work on during class, it keeps the students on task while also allowing them to succeed and progress from their current skill level. If you do not modify activities to include all students, then the students who either cannot perform a skill or are not able to be involved during class will get turned off and not want to actively participate at all.
            My last two beliefs go hand-in-hand. These beliefs are lifetime activities and healthy lifestyles. As physical education continues on with the new era of physical education, there is more of an emphasis on lifetime activities rather than just on the sports model of physical education. This is very important because now we are teaching our students skills and activities that they can use as they grow older and older and therefore they have the skills and tools necessary to live a long healthy life. Not many people play team sports such as baseball, football, and soccer for the rest of their lives because of the need for high cardiovascular conditioning or because of the high impact level of the sport. However, lifetime activities like golf, tennis, and swimming provide for low impact level activities that people of almost any age can take part in so that they can live an active lifestyle. Along with teaching students about activities for a lifetime, teaching them about the benefits of physical activity and why it is important to life a healthy lifestyle is also essential in physical education. As a physical educator, my goal is to leave a lasting impression on my students so that they will actually take the tools and skills that they have learned and put them into action for the rest of their life, instead of just participating in physical education and not expanding what they have learned into their own lives.

My Coaching Philosophy

            As an athletics enthusiast and a coach, there are 5 major beliefs that I focus on, value, and implement for each one of my athletic teams. These 5 beliefs are teamwork, dedication, leadership, family, and success.
            On any team, teamwork is most likely a top priority. Teamwork is essential for a team to become proficient and have success. Without teamwork, a team is not a real team. Players and coaches have to work hand-in-hand with each other and they have to do it well. Many good teams are said to have good “team chemistry.” This is that they have very good teamwork. Players work well together and they respect each other. They know that they are all working together towards a common goal and they will do the best that they can in order to help the team out. Teamwork may be a hard quality of a team to achieve in a short time period, but when taught correctly and reinforced on a daily basis, teamwork can be achieved and improved fairly quickly.
            For any good team to become a great team, dedication is needed on the part of the athletes as well as the coaches. Players need to practice hard and really try to get better. This doesn’t mean just showing up to practice and then when practice is over, it’s over. Dedication means practicing and working on getting better on your own time and during the offseason. This goes for the coaches as well as for the players. Coaches need to be dedicated to helping players get better. They need to do just as much work while off the court as while on the court in order to be able to best prepare their teams for upcoming games or practices.
            My next major belief is leadership. On every team, there can a number of leaders. Different players can be leaders at different times. However, there always needs to be at least one leader at all times. You cannot have everyone be a follower at the same time or success will be very difficult to achieve. A coach needs to be a great leader. They need to be a person that the players and assistant coaches can look to in a time of need. They know when they need to show confidence for the team and they need to be able to bring the team together and get them motivated. It is great to have some players on the team that can be good leaders because they can relate to the other players and help the coach out a little bit with leading the team, but a coach needs to always be a leader. Leadership does not mean making all of the decisions for the team and being the only one who takes the team into account. Leadership means taking the team into account and seeing what players and coaches feel is the best for the team while being able to put forth ideas to help the team succeed to their best ability.
            A good team is like a family. You have every person on the team working together for the best of the team and what effects one person affects everyone on the team. In a family, everyone has each other’s backs and they support each other. They are there when they need each other and they help out when they can. This in no way comes quickly. It takes time and effort among the players as well as shared experiences of playing with each other. However, when this is achieved, a team becomes so close and can become great.
            My last major belief of coaching is success. When coaching an athletic team, success is the ultimate goal. This not only means success on the score board by winning games, but it means progressing as a team from year to year, achieving the “family” status, working together as one unit, or achieving any other goal that your team has for it. Setting realistic goals and working hard towards goals is important for any team to experience success. There is no greater feeling than seeing your team succeed and seeing all of their hard work pay off in the end.

My Philosophy on Education

As a professional educator, I rest my philosophy of education upon 5 main beliefs. All together, these 5 beliefs provide the basis for what I value, what I do, and why I do it as a professional educator. These beliefs are motivation, cooperation, respect, social interaction, responsibility.
Motivation is an essential aspect of any good education program. We must do everything that we can, as professional educators, to try to reach out to all of our students and to get them motivated to learn. If students are not motivated to come to school and to learn, then it may reflect in their grade which is the last thing that we as teachers want to happen. Students who are motivated will have more fun while learning and have a better educational experience than those who are not motivated to be there. Motivating students starts with the teachers being just as motivated to be there to teach their students. If teachers are not motivated, then there is virtually no chance that the students are going to be motivated.
 Cooperation is an aspect that can make every school that much better. In good and great schools, there is cooperation among everyone. There is cooperation among faculty members, among students, among teachers and students, and so on. A school where there is cooperation among everyone can be a very efficient one. Cooperation helps with everyone knowing what is going on in the school and everyone being on the same page. This provides for less confusion between teachers, students, and faculty while also providing for team teaching and cross curriculum teaching. Both of these have been shown to help increase student learning, which is a very important goal of every school.
For cooperation to be as high as it can be, there also needs to be respect between everyone in the school. Respect is a quality that is important in having a good educational program and school setting. If everyone is respectful to each other, cooperation among everyone will be even more effective and students and teachers will get the most out of it as there is possible. Having respect for each other allows for students to interact together during school in a safe environment because each student knows that their opinions and beliefs will be respected by their peers, instead of shot down by them. This is my next belief which includes social interaction.
While children are at school, along with the education that they are receiving, social interaction with their peers is the next most evident aspect of school. Throughout the entire school year, students are in class together, working on projects, helping each other study or talking about what is going on in each other’s lives. A school should be a place where this inevitable social interaction can take place in a safe environment so that there is a little negative social interaction, such as bullying, as possible. This goes hand in hand with students having a positive educational experience which is a responsibility of each school.
This brings me to my last main belief which is responsibility. Every good education program has a responsibility to provide the students with a quality education while they attend school. The school’s faculty and staff have a responsibility to make sure that the school is a safe environment for all students to interact and learn with their peers. Every teacher has the responsibility to do their best to help each student succeed to their highest ability every time possible. Every school has the responsibility to put their students first and to always keep their students in mind every time that a decision needs to be made about their education.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Teaching Advice

Throughout my career here at SUNY Cortland, there are about a million pieces of advice that I have received from various teachers, students, and advisers. There are a couple pieces of advice that stick out in my mind above all of the rest. The first advice is one sentence that I heard from my education psychology teacher. It is "they do not care how much you know until they know how much you care." This is referring to the students and that, to get through to your students and to have them take what you are teaching them to heart, you need to show them that you care that they learn what you are teaching them and that you care about your students in general. This is a quote that I will never forget as long I live and I believe that it is going to help me when I am teaching in the future.

Another piece of advice that I received that sticks out in my mind is advice that I got from a teacher when I was doing observation at a middle school. I asked him what he believe an effective teacher was and this was his response:
"The obvious answer is a teacher that can get there students through the course.  The less obvious answer is a teacher who can inspire a student to try or to care just a little more.  I had a teacher is high school that used to help me for hours after school in math.  I never told her how much I appreciated her ability to listen to my mind numbing questions over and over again and her willingness to remain in school for all that extra time.  I ended up with an 80ish average that year and a belief in myself that I could do math.  Although this later proved not to be true (I am a history teacher after all) I’ve always looked at this teacher as someone who knew what teachers were supposed to be. I’d like to also add that effective teachers have empathy.  Listen to the kids and try to take interest in their ideas and hobbies and you create a bond that is immensely helpful."
This advice from the teacher that I interviewed, especially the last couple sentences, has somewhat of the same idea as the first piece of advice that I mentioned. Relating to your students and having empathy can make them listen to you more and respect you because they know that you care about them. All of this advice will be extremely beneficial for as I begin teaching.

2011 NYS AHPERD Conference

In any profession, it is important to take part in professional development activities in order to improve your own skills and get new ideas that you can use and implement into your own profession. In physical education, the New York State Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance is an organization for teachers in New York State. This past week NYS AHPERD held a conference at Turning Stone which consisted of multiple presentation throughout the day that professionals and future professionals that were in attendance could observe and even take part in. I attended sessions on "Spicing up your warm-up", fitness assessment, Omnikin ball, and activities for elementary children to name a few. I learned a lot of new ideas from each session that I am going to use in the future when I can. Each session provided us with new games and activities along with modifications with each activity to get each student involved Learning all these new activities is going to be very beneficial since I will be student teaching in the spring semester.

This Conference was the first one that I had ever attended and I am very glad that I went. I was able to meet other professionals and I was even able to get some interviews with some of the other teachers and professionals that were there. They provided me with some good advice that I will be able to use in my future teaching endeavors.

Attending conferences, like the NYS AHPERD conference, is not only a way to learn more skills that you can use in your field in the future, it is a great way to begin networking. For a college student who is about to graduate and will be looking for a job in the very near future, this can be very important. Who knows, you could meet your future employer at conferences like these. This is why attending professional development workshops is important to not, not only as a current professional educator, but also as a future professional educator.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Managing Student Behavior

          How a teacher handles the environment and the students in it while teaching is an important part of teaching. You need to know how to be able to handle students who are misbehaving or acting out before class in the locker room, during class, as well as after class in the locker room and any other time that is needed during the school day. It is a given that you will have students act out and misbehave to some extent during your teaching career. And more than likely, you will get rebuttal from the students when you attempt to confront the misbehavior. Discipline is a skill that teachers need to be able to effective. You need to know how much to discipline a student for a particular instance and most importantly, when you discipline a student or talk to a student about their misbehavior, you need to attack the behavior instead of the student. In no way do you need to tell the student that they are bad, instead you need to tell the student that what they did was defiant.     
Having a daily routine can help cut down on student misbehavior. If you give the students a series of tasks to do, then they will spend less time doing nothing which, more than likely, leads to students misbehaving because it is something to do. At both school levels that I observed last year, there were routines in place for before and after class while the students were in the locker rooms and for during class. The students knew the routines and knew the consequences of what would happen if they did not follow the routines. The routine was common in that the students would get changed in the locker room, the teacher would take attendance, and then the class would begin a warm-up. After class, the students would get changed in the locker room and then wait for the bell to ring to go to the next class.
 This is one of the important parts of managing behavior: Having rules set in place and make sure that all of the students know the rules and consequences of breaking those rules. This will help cut down on misbehaving students as well. Posted on all four walls of the pool area are the Pool Rules that must be followed by all of the students or else they must face the consequences that come with breaking the rules. There are also sheets of paper located near the teacher’s office that give a list of all of the pool rules that the students must observe.
When I was observing at a middle school last year, there was no instant of an extreme misbehavior by the students. There was the regular talking back and not listening that will occur in almost every classroom. There was one instance when there was a student who was being disruptive and not listening during class. This student did not listen to the teacher’s instructions and they were also trying to tell other students what to do as if he was the teacher. The teacher then talked to him sternly and the disruptive student was then told to sit out of the pool for the rest of the class period while the other students were able to enjoy some free swim time for the rest of class.
There were also no major instances of excessive misbehavior at the High School Level that I observed either. One instance where the teacher had to step in to manage some behavior of some students was during game-play of the basketball unit that the students were in. There were a couple of students who were fooling around while playing the basketball game. They were shooting ridiculous shots from half-court and fooling around in general. The teacher stepped in and told the students that they needed to take the game more seriously and to play the game right. If they couldn’t do that, then they would have to sit and their effort grade would be affected. As a result of the teacher’s actions, the students began to take the game seriously and the fooling around stopped. The game was much more enjoyable for everyone who was playing.
In both of these instances, I would not have done anything differently. I believe that the actions taken by the teachers were the right ones since they were effective and they had an immediate positive impact on the class lesson. The behavior diminished quickly the class was more enjoyable and fun for everyone.
Having more than one strategy for various misbehaviors that may occur in your class is essential. The saying that comes to mind when disciplining students is that “The punishment must fit the crime.” They way that you handle misbehavior should be different depending on the situation. Another appropriate strategy that could have been used for the disruptive student in the pool would be to have the student come and help you demonstrate the skill that is being taught. This way, the student would not be able to be disruptive because you would be right there watching him and the student would have something to do instead of being disruptive. For the misbehaving students in the gym, another way that situation could have been handled would to stop the game and have the students run skill drills that center around what the students were doing by fooling around instead of play a game. For example, you could say that because there are some students who seem not to know how to pass the ball correctly, we are going to work on our passing by doing this drill instead of playing a game.
From my observations, I have learned that establishing a routine in essential to a smooth running class. If you have a series of tasks for students to perform then they spend less time doing nothing which, in turn, will lessen the chance of students misbehaving and having to handle disciplining them instead of teaching your class.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sports in Schools

Many schools have sports as extracurricular activities that students can participate in. I played school sports in every season all throughout my junior high and high school careers. Everyone participates in sports for different reason, whether it is because they love to play the sport to it may just give them something to do outside of the regular school day.

I absolutely love playing sports and I loved being on a team with my friends who loved to play too. My friends and I, for the most part, were on the same teams from junior high all through high school. When playing on teams like this, you form a stronger bond with them and become more of a family while playing the sport and also off the court. You become someone they can count on and they become people that you can count on if you ever need them. This is one of the greatest aspects about sports. You form bonds with your teammates that last can last a lifetime.

Sports can also be a type of release for the players from the everyday life. For the two hours or so that you are engaged in the sport, that is your main focus. It is a way to forget about everything else for a while and just have a good time. As Matt Cassle says in this video, it can serve as a "great distraction" for the players. Which at times, can be exactly what the players, the coaches, and sometimes the community as a whole needs.

Sports have a way of expanding upon just the performance of the sport by the players. Sports serve as a way of bringing together people of all different lives and backgrounds and giving them something in common, sports; whether you are a player, a fan, a coach, etc. You can see this anywhere you go. Even though there are two teams playing against each other, they are all taking part in the one game, together.

Sports also have the ability to keep students' academic performances up. At my high school, we had an academic code of conduct for athletes where they were only able to play if their grades were satisfactory. This makes the players study and make sure that they do well in school because if they didn't, they wouldn't be put on academic probation for the sport.

In an economy like ours is now, many schools are needing to cut their budgets and unfortunately, because sports are an extracurricular activity, sometimes they are the first to go. I know of many schools who are cutting Modified and, in some cases, even Junior Varsity sports because they can not afford to keep them going. I believe that schools need to do all that they can in order to keep sports offered for the students. A great thing that I witnessed this past summer was by the students of a school next to my high school. The school wasn't going to afford to keep the high school soccer teams going. They still needed around $13,000 which they didn't have. The players, coaches, and parents did not want this to happen so they did all they could to help out. The teams did fundraiser after fundraiser after fundraiser and eventually, by the end of this past summer, the teams reached their goal of raising the amount of money needed and were able to play this fall. It was great to see that the push from the teams and the hard work from the players to raise the money because they wanted to play so badly. It shows you how if you want something badly enough, it's possible to achieve it.

I wish to be a coach in the future and since sports have had such a strong influence on my life, I want other children to be able to have the great opportunities that I had growing up and making sure that sports stay in schools is very important to me.