3. Motivation & Inspiration
'Inspiration is everywhere, but you have to be looking' Jane Pauley
PE teaching presents an amazing opportunity, we get to hang out with enthusiastic individuals for the day that are passionate about play and fun, and teach these individuals new skills - in a manner that we believe will have the most impact. For those that are willing, every day presents a blank canvas to create something new, be it a game, an authentic relationship, an approach or a unit of work.
Thinking back to my first year of teaching, I didn’t view PE teaching this way. Admittedly I was inexperienced and very much still learning the caper, but I found PE teaching boring and highly repetitive. Given this was my first experience of teaching, I just assumed that this was what PE teaching would be - it was the job. I was still finding my feet and lacked authentic relationships with students and colleagues, but I also fell into the trap of repeating the same old games each and every lesson - most of which were a direct reflection upon the games I had played when I was in Primary school. The students loved it, as if they wouldn’t love playing games and running around for 50 minutes, but it felt like slow torture to me, and I question now how much learning was actually taking place back at his point in time.
At some point in time - midway through my first year, I remember wondering if Primary PE teaching really was the path to trek down - after all, I had completed a Secondary degree with every intention of working within a Secondary School.
It was soon after this that everything started to change and I began finding inspiration, which led to developing a confidence and belief within myself, which in turn led to being more willing and motivate to challenge myself, and things began to change.
The first bit of confidence and inspiration came from a colleague (@mrstevecrowe). He had been the PE Teacher at the school prior to my arrival and was presenting at the Vic. ACHPER Conference at Monash University and he asked me to tag along and assist with the presentation. He had done plenty of presenting in the past, I’d done nothing. I tagged along and pitched in during the session where I could, I’m not sure I offered too much in the presentation, but the fact that I was up there with him gave me huge confidence and a sense of belief in myself. Not only is he a good mate, but someone I have been able to bounce ideas off and get meaningful and effective feedback.
It was from this experience, and the belief that was shown in me and the confidence that I had gained, plus encouragement from those around me, that I developed ‘HeadsUpHPE’ and began establishing a presence on Twitter. This has proved to be an incredibly helpful PD tool and source of inspiration. Through Twitter, I’ve been able to see what other amazing PE Teachers are doing, gain new ideas, have meaningful conversations, establish new professional relationships and gain feedback on the lessons and resources that I have been using and developing. It comes with its downfalls (as all social media does) and that is something that I have learnt along the way and I think all teachers should keep in mind, but having PD at my fingertips and access to literally hundreds of other HPE teachers has been incredibly helpful. On this I have found great inspiration and motivation from the following, but not limited to (in no order):
Through using twitter and connecting with people all over the world, it led me to the third source of inspiration… Podcasts. My commute to work is a little over an hour each way and provides the perfect opportunity to listen to different podcasts and hear what people from all over the world are doing. This is not only in regard to PE teaching, but leadership, relationships, mindfulness or motivation. There are so many out there and sometimes it can be hit and miss, but people/podcasts I have listened to and found inspiration from, include:
The PE Umbrella
Anything with Hamish Brewer as a guest (1. Teach Me, Teacher 2. Better Leaders Better Schools 3. Eagerly Unsatisfied)
(I’ve only listened to the Brewer interview on Better Leaders Better Schools, but pumped to listen to more of this podcast)
Super Soul Conversations (Oprah Winfrey interviewing Tom Brady)
Captains Call (Australian Football League Captains discussing their approach to leadership - I found so many of their theories/approaches to dealing with issues that arise related to school scenarios)
The Resilience Project (Jack Watts interview on podcast, or the Resilience Project talks on YouTube are great!)
There are also some I have just discovered, but have not listened to yet, including: Energetic Radio, Supersized PhysEd, The PE Geek podcast & Andy Hair: What Happened Yesterday?
Another place to gain amazing inspiration is obviously HPE organizations. Wherever you live, find your local organization that supports Health and PE teachers. In Australia, ACHPER provides amazing resources, guidance, tips and advice. They have tips of the week, newsletters and run amazing conferences. I have been fortunate enough to attend ACHPER Vic for 4 years, and present at 3 of them. I have found attending these to be incredibly beneficial for gaining new ideas and approaches, but also an amazing opportunity to build your PLN. While on this, if you can get yourself to the Vic. ACHPER Conference, I would highly recommend it, I have always walked away with an abundance of fresh ideas and love attending each year. I'm also incredibly pumped and fortunate to be attending and presenting at the PHASE Asia-Pacific Conference in Hong Kong in 2 weeks. I threw my hat in the ring for this when applying for ACHPERVIC19 and am so excited to have got accepted and be making the trip over.
I’ve no doubt that there are many more amazing sources of help and inspiration. Mine are not limited to these sources, but I have found these to be of most benefit to this point in time. The things I am looking to explore more of include:
Reading - whether it’s books, articles, blogs, etc. from a professional point of view. I have ‘Relentless’ on the way - a book written by Hamish Brewer and cannot wait to get stuck in to that (Although the rate I read, it’ll take some time).
Instagram from a professional point of view
Ted talks - finding good ones that help motivate and inspire
My final piece on this topic that I believe is important to mention, is don’t be afraid to fail. Time and time again I’ve seen things on twitter, websites, books, etc. and I have tried them and they haven’t worked or it has been a complete mess. Give yourself the chance to try your new idea or approach, and if it doesn’t go to plan, try again! If you're feeling inspired, completely run with it! As educators, it can be uncomfortable getting out of our comfort zone and giving new things a go, especially if they don’t work the first time. Use this as an opportunity to reflect on your practice, ask the students what worked and what didn’t, make adjustments and try again. I wish I had a dollar for every time I have tried new things and they haven’t worked as planned, if at all. I will more often than not be honest with the students and let them know “I’ve had this new idea!” or “I’ve seen this but never given it a go, would you be willing to try it?” and at the end, reflect with them “how was it?”, “what could make it more fun/engaging/enjoyable..?”. Use the students as a source of inspiration and motivation. If you can get them on board, and create authentic relationships with them, then the gym is a great place to try new things.
If you have other recommendations for sources of inspiration or motivation I would love to hear about it and check it out!
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