It hit me like a ton of bricks. I could no longer afford to keep teaching at my current school. I knew that on July 1st my rent was going to increase. I did not have enough money saved to buy a home yet and after eleven years of teaching, I was unhappy with my salary. I had started teaching in my former school system in 2006 and was preparing to go into year twelve on salary step number eight. I was frustrated.
“Ms. Tucker, you’re not going anywhere” my colleague said to me when I expressed my desire to leave my former school over a year ago. But on July 11th, I signed a contract to teach physical education at a new school in a new county after having spent 10 years at my former elementary school. I’m excited for the change but I have to admit, deciding on a new position had its share of challenges. My journey to a new school began with something I call “The 9-Interview Itch”…nine interviews in the span of five months.
It started with an interview at an international school in DC, then on to an interview with Howard County Public Schools’ PE Department, followed by an interview with Montgomery County Public Schools’ PE Department, then an interview in my former county, PGCPS, then on to three interviews at schools in DCPS and back to two more interviews with schools in Howard County. In each interview, I talked about positive behavior intervention and supports, classroom management, assessment in physical education, establishing a rapport with students, writing curriculum, connecting with parents and building relationships with the outside community. I found that each school system was vastly different in expectations, procedures, and quality of support offered to its educators.
I presented my best self with every interviewer. I learned that in the past 11 years, I had become more than an elementary physical education teacher. I had become a mentor, problem solver, advocate, coach, leader, professional development facilitator, cheerleader, and change-maker. I am going to be honest, realizing that I wouldn’t be able to support myself financially on my current salary was the motivating factor. It pushed me to set up interviews in the first place. But, each interview was well worth it. I built the confidence I needed to take on the challenge of teaching some place new.
Ultimately, I decided on Howard County Public Schools as the best fit. I felt that my experiences and passion for quality instruction were best suited there. If anything, the 9-Interview Itch lit a fire under me and forced me to ask two questions, “What’s next in your career?” Where do you think you can make the most impact as an educator?” As teachers we are constantly placing our students’ needs first. I get that. However, it is okay to question our salary, current position and overall motivation in our careers and make the decisions that also best support us.
PHYSEDagogy just delivered their keynotes at the National PE & Sport Institute in Asheville, North Carolina. The main idea of the One Word, One Community afternoon keynote was to share what continues to push us as individuals and as group in physical education. The seven of us chose one word that represents our thoughts, captures our feelings, and provides us strength as we look forward to the upcoming school year. At the conclusion of our Keynote, we invited the audience to share their one word. We were so inspired by what the audience shared, we wanted to learn more about why people chose their word. Now you have a chance to share it with us. Here are the first 10 responses we received from our amazing health and physical education teaching community.
If you would like to share your word with the physical education community, please click on the button below and submit the form. This will take you a blog template (Google Form) that you can use to share your word and an explanation of why your word continues to push you in your physical education life. Once you complete the form, it will be posted on our website for all to see. Thanks!
Lisa Bell – Pioneer Elementary
What is your One Word? Zeal
The hope that a teacher’s ZEAL for instruction in physical literacy will plant patches of “Zeal Seeds” in all of her students!
Mike Lally – South Carolina Department of Education
What is your One Word? Perseverance
It can be exhausting trying to make positive change in our field of physical education. Especially when some are allowed to roll out the balls and do nothing when you are busting your tail to make a difference for the students and the profession. However, over time and with work people recognize what a quality physical education program should look like which in time hopefully will lead to all students receiving a quality physical education program
Kevin Shephard – Retired – supportREALteachers
What is your One Word? Giving
Teachers give a lot. They give to their students, they give to their schools, they give to their communities, and they give to each other 🙂
Artie Kamiya – Great Activities Publishing
What is your One Word? Honorable
I believe we need to continue to strive to be honorable in our teaching, in the choices we make, and in the service we provide for the children and youth under our care.
Osama Abu Jafar – Raha International School
What is your One Word? Connect
Share Dream Improve
Doug Hallberg – Mohonasen CSD, Draper Middle School
What is your One Word? Connect
I want to connect individually to every single one of my students every single class. I want each of them to feel seen, and to know that I noticed them. This interaction at the start of class can and does set the climate for all that follows!
Paul Zientarski – Retired from Naperville Central H.S.
What is your One Word? Neuroscience
I believe that the salvation of Physical Education in schools is proving to Administrators, Parents, Legislators and Students that our brains are enhanced and new brain cells grow as a result of exercise. The research available regarding neuroscience and exercise’s influence on the brain is overwhelming. Since schools are so entrenched in improving test scores, quality PE can do just that, improve test scores. We also know that quality PE and daily exercise improves student attendance and behavior because of neurotransmitters in the brain that are activated through movement and exercise.
Matthew Bassett – San Jose Charter Academy
What is your One Word? United
Physical Education, more than ever, needs to become united in offering quality physical Education to our students. Our profession must act together and cast off old practices. We need to teach skills in order to promote physical literacy. Without it, we will open the door for future generations to live shorter lifespans than our own.
Amie Schneider – Curriculum Resource for The School District of Palm Beach County
What is your One Word? Grateful
I am grateful to have the best job in the world. I get to teach teachers who in turn, impact over 20,000 students on a daily basis. I am grateful to work with a team who are like family to me. I am also grateful to have met some of my PLC this past year. The impact social media has had on my life these past two years has been so rewarding.
Judy LoBianco – South Orange-Maplewood Schools
What is your One Word? Courage
In my role as SHAPE America President-Elect and my work as a Supervisor of HPE: Courage, the MORAL kind, is the word that will advance our entire profession. It’s because we are only as effective as our weakest teachers, and those teachers are dominating our work. As champions, we need moral COURAGE, in order to educate them, advocate for best practice and do what is necessary to protect all 50 million children. Join me, and my one word, as we enter this school year! (LoBianco drops the mic)
If you didn’t get a chance to see our keynote, then feel free to watch by clicking on the link below: