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I never imagined that I would end my career teaching via Zoom, but here I am, about to retire away from the reason I got into this in the first place: the kids.  As I prepare to retire, I pondered over what I would say to myself if I could go back 40 years when I embarked on this awesome adventure. If even one thought I share here encourages a beginning teacher, then I’ll consider this blog a success. Here we go:

• Teach and practice compassion, kindness and love. Take great pleasure in the privilege and responsibility of being able to help guide your students into being responsible, well-adjusted adults.

• Present challenging activities, use thoughtful planning, and incorporate minimal transition times to prevent most discipline problems. Be sure to set boundaries for acceptable behavior and lead by example. We teach our students how to behave by what we allow, what we stop, what we ignore, and what we reinforce.

• Students are like popcorn kernels. They are not going to pop at the same time. Teach them the importance of patience and perseverance.

• Be an advocate. Promote the importance of our profession. Share information with parents. Showcase the learning going on in your classes via newsletters, video, invitations to parents, administrators, and other teachers.

• Collaborate with colleagues. The most valuable resource we have is each other.

• We have the most important role in education: we reach the total child. PE provides a unique opportunity to contribute to the overall health and development of every child. Besides imparting the lifelong skills necessary for growth and development, students learn the values, principles, and concepts of respect, cooperation, communication, responsibility, acceptance, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Because of this, and the strong connection between exercise and brain function, physical education is a catalyst for learning in all other content areas. What we do matters. Every single day, every single class.

• Never stop learning. Stay current on programs that can help encourage your students to participate in physical activities so that they will want to remain active for a lifetime. Pursue National Board Certification. The in-depth self-reflection and study required to achieve certification will be the most beneficial professional development journey you can take.

• Be passionate about what you teach and make enthusiasm contagious.

• Secretaries and maintenance workers have a wealth of knowledge about a school. Show them respect.

• Keep yourself healthy and sane. Put your faith and your family first.

• Never lose your sense of humor. Let kids see your human side. Let them see you be goofy. When you appreciate someone, tell them. When you make a mistake, fess up. If you do a wrong, apologize and make it right. Do not assume you’re smarter than a child simply because you’re older. Say thank you to children when they do something for you or others.

• Have the courage to stand up for what’s right.

• There are many activities you can use to address standards. It doesn’t matter what vehicle you use, as long as you reach the destination. Be open to creativity. Be willing to try new things. Will you make mistakes? Yep. But as Einstein said, “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they had never tried a new thing in their life…” 

Never dwell on what is, but constantly envision what could be. Best of luck to all of you as you continue on your awesome adventure.

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