Physical Education Teacher  What They Do

Just the Facts

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dotNoticed a bulge growing around your waist? Get tired walking up a flight of stairs? North Americans are getting heavier, and are doing less exercise. In fact, approximately a third of American children are overweight, according to the American Obesity Association.

Physical education teachers are responsible for getting students active. They teach the value of fitness, healthy lifestyles and all about various sports.

dotPhysical education teachers can also teach health and lifestyle courses. "In addition, they can run intramural programs, and are responsible for all athletic activities at the school," says Jonathan Brady, a PE teacher.

This can include scheduling tournaments and practice times, arranging buses for road trips and making sure referees and scorekeepers are available for all games.

"You see a lot of children during the day, especially if you teach at an elementary level," says Lydia Crain. She is an instructor of physical education at the University of Arizona. "This job requires a lot of organization."

dotLike other teachers, PE teachers need to prepare report cards and meet with parents to discuss a student's academic or more personal problems.

dotPhysical education teachers can work in public or private schools, teaching in elementary or high schools.

PE teachers work school hours. However, they are often involved in after school sports, and can be involved in coaching on weekends as well.

"As a PE teacher, you give up your weekends," says Brady. "You don't have to coach, but it's pretty much assumed that you will want to."

dot"Teaching physical education is a very demanding, very physical job," says Crain.

Although in most cases teaching PE requires mobility and a certain level of fitness, there may be opportunities for the physically challenged as well.

"It's just like anything else," says Mark Manross. He is the executive director of an online teaching resource for PE teachers. "If you have the intellect and the drive, it doesn't matter who you are."

At a Glance

Help students get active

  • You'll likely be busy coaching on weekends
  • You might also teach health and lifestyle courses
  • Start with a degree in health or physical education