I am selling physical education for life. I want my students to choose to move, and be healthy for the rest of their lives. I am competing against a multitude of choices; video games, television, the enticement of fast food, just to name a few. These competitors are exciting, and fun. Yes, I can teach them about the benefits of physical activity, and I do, but I also want to convince them that moving is playing, moving whether in a game or an individual conquest (like crossing the traverse wall) is fun and exciting. When they look back on my classes I want them to remember how much they loved physical education. Because then as adults they will be willing to recreate those memories for themselves by joining an adult league or fitness class.
So yes, I care what my students think. In fact, I am grateful for their opinions. I don’t cater every lesson to their whims but I do try to build fun and excitement into every lesson.
Take the challenge and give your students 5 minutes to fill out a survey. Questions I ask are:
What do you like most about PE?
What do you like least about PE?
What is your favorite activity in PE?
If you were the PE teacher what would you change?
What is your least favorite activity in PE?
I have to confess, I have changed some of my practices based on these surveys. Before the surveys I would often start class with a “warmup”. The warm up consisted of doing a few laps of a various locomotor activity, some exercises like 5 push ups… I rarely do this type of warmup now. We often will play a game of tag ( equivalent to running laps), sometimes the game will include a rule that if they get tagged they have a choice of 5 push ups, or 5 situps. Anytime students are sitting listening to directions, they are expected to be stretching.
I encourage you to try a survey if you haven’t ever done one. Let me know, even if you just email me privately, firstname.lastname@example.org the outcome.