Every year after SHAPE Colorado I leave inspired by the achievements, ideas, and enthusiasm of the professionals who make up our organization. These fresh ideas and inspiration enriches my teaching, ultimately making me a better educator and improving the quality physical education experience for my students. This year, I learned valuable dribbling and foot juggling skill cues from Leann Hepburn. I learned a great variation on pushup hockey from Sue Wright where students attempt passes back and forth with a ball while maintaining a push up position. From Sandy Thies I learned new innovative cooperative activities. Since the conference, I have been determining how to best add these practices into what I do now. Professional development has this impact on me, whether it be online or at a conference. First, I learn a new idea or activity, then I decide how to fit it in with my own practices. Sometimes I have to try the new concept a few times, reconfiguring it before it becomes part of my own practice. I believe this change process is how we improve our teaching and grow as physical educators.
Interestingly, at professional development opportunities the biggest growth for me personally occurs in the “space in-between.” I get really excited about the conversations I have with other physical education professionals. I learn from listening to ideas from the person participating next to me. When the professional besides me shares their take on the concept or activity being presented, I gain greater understanding. I also benefit from the collaboration that continues on after the conference. Often these short conversations are the building blocks toward long-term friendships. I love these conversations when we build off one another’s ideas. like when Bill Feely told me how he planned to adapt an activity to fit his unique teaching situation. His reflection then gave me a notion of how I might then modify his idea to fit my students’ needs.
Perhaps my greatest “ah ha” moment at SHAPE Colorado came from attending the legislator panel. I was impressed by how candid and articulate our Colorado physical educators were when sharing strengths and concerns regarding the state of physical education within their districts. We were joined by two prestigious members of the State Board of Education who recently fought to keep the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey intact and State Representative Rhonda Fields, one of our true healthy and active living champions who sits on the state’s Education Committee. They reminded us each to continue to contact them and other policy makers with our stories, concerns, and more importantly with our solutions in order to keep our mission on the forefront. During this session, I was most impressed by Kayla McGannon who is our SHAPE Colorado lobbyist. Her depth of knowledge and passion for physical education left me feeling that when it comes to physical education and the state capital, we are in good hands. Kayla is working hard to be sure each of our students are give the opportunity to develop physical literacy and that this effort is supported by policy makers at the capital.
This Post was originally published in the SHAPE Colorado Journal 2015