I am a PE teacher at a secondary school in Wejherowo in North Poland, near Gdansk. I have been teaching since 1991; it must be in my blood – my dad was also a PE teacher.
Nowadays, more priority is given to PE in the curriculum than when my father was a teacher. Sixth formers have three hours a week and primary and secondary pupils participate in four hours of classes.
There is a growing need for my subject as children are less fit these days. When I was a child, I spent my spare time doing outdoor activities with my friends. Today it is the opposite; children spend most of their spare time in front of computers.
The most important thing is to encourage and motivate students to be active rather than achieve a result in a sport. I try to show my students the links between wellbeing and activities, and ensure they know what to do to be fit and happy when they leave school.
I try to make my lessons inspiring and engaging to make students more interested in a healthy lifestyle. I always give students an opportunity to try all kind of sports throughout the year, such as Nordic walking and jogging in a nearby forest, skating in a neighbouring school that has an ice rink, and of course going outdoors to make snowballs to throw at each other in the winter.
I try to do outdoor activities as often as possible. If my students don’t want to go out because of cold weather, I say to them: there is no bad weather, only bad clothes.
I am also a form teacher, which is hard work but is very interesting and challenging. I have one hour per week with my form in which we discuss everyday problems in school, future choices of study and issues such as smoking, drugs, diseases and so on.
I particularly enjoy arranging school trips for my form. During these trips, we can take advantage of the natural landscape and to get to know each other better, as I have a chance to observe them in everyday life.
As my class specialises in biology and chemistry, we go on a trip every year to the Blue School on the Polish coast for five days to learn about everything related to the sea.
One place that we visit is the Hel Marine Station of the Institute of Oceanography. The location of the station in the central point of the Gulf of Gdansk is an exciting place to undertake research on the open sea and in the coastal zone.
During the trips to the Blue School, students perform experiments and conduct research outdoors. As I don’t teach science, I act only as their form teacher, so have a chance to focus on their relationships and behaviour, and have more opportunities to chat with them. After classes, we have some time for walking by the seaside, playing outdoor games and singing by the campfire. I speak to my students about their problems, and try to help and support them. It is a very responsible job, but very rewarding – and one that I am passionate about.
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