By Alicia Sexton
Editor’s Note: The writer was one of the students who participated in teaching the PE classes at William Floyd Middle School.
A group of students enrolled in Secondary Methods in Physical Education (PE) took a trip to William Floyd Middle School on Wednesday, Nov. 14, to teach physical education classes to sixth, seventh and eighth graders.
The instructor Dr. Lois Kahl set up the field trip as trial run for her students to see what physical education is like in the field, rather than in textbooks and class lectures.
This was the first time this class visited and taught real PE classes, and Kahl expressed her excitement. “It’s very important that future educators get hands-on and real life experiences in the gymnasium,” she said. “It exposes them [on] how to deal with increased class sizes, a diversified student body, language barriers, and how to continually adapt to certain situations throughout a lesson.”
The students arrived at William Floyd Middle School at 8 a.m. and spoke with the physical educators there about the incoming class sizes and dynamics. Students in the class team-taught with one or two partners and had a few weeks to come up with a unique and dynamic lesson plan.
During certain periods, there were almost 100 students in the gymnasium at the same time.
“[The trip] brought me to reality and helped me realize what actually goes on. The big class sizes and all the children made the experience super realistic,” Kristal Hernandez, junior physical education major, said. Her favorite part of the experience was seeing her lesson “come to light and it collectively working out well.”
“I think that teaching in front of a real class gave me an opportunity to experience all the things that could happen within the classroom that we wouldn’t normally get through teaching each other like we do in some classes here at LIU,” Megan Sneeden, junior physical education major, said. “I loved seeing the students genuinely enjoy the activity I was teaching. It reminded me of why I chose physical education in the first place and made me that much more excited about becoming a teacher in the future.”
Sneeden was one the students who taught the class when there were about 100 students in the gym. “It was difficult to correct things that students didn’t quite understand after the initial introduction to the activity,” she said. “The gym was very loud and that made it difficult at times to reign in the students so they could hear me.”
Kahl said that students at the event were able to work on their professionalism. “The students were very detailed in developing and implementing their lesson plans. They conducted themselves in a professional manner and were very receptive to the constructive criticism from the middle school physical education teachers after they taught their lesson,” she said. “I was very pleased with their first-time teaching experience and the future looks bright for them as future physical education teachers.”