Posted tagged ‘dodgeball’

The Diary of a Middle School PE Teacher

December 3, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                           December 3, 2016



Dear Diary,

This is archery week for the physical education classes! It is one of the weeks during the year when I have a “safe word” that I share with the other teachers. That is, I fear the temptation to take one of the bows and arrows and use it in a way that would cause me to end up on the nightly news…nation-wide!…might overtake my common sense. So I have a safe word to say to the other teachers around me that will keep me out of jail, and a future career as an incarcerated librarian!

My lunch today was a PB and honey sandwich on multi-grain bread, complimented with a side of carrot sticks.

My second period class of 8th Graders arrived already overdosed on “annoying.” Thank God they are not in one of the archery classes! The assignment for their class was to run/walk for 30 minutes around the track. It’s amazing how students who have taken “annoying steroids” slow down when they are asked to run/walk for 30 minutes. Some of them made 4 laps! That’s a mile in a half-hour! That’s like a slow record!

I shot free throws with a sixth grader before one of our classes began. I made 23 in a row. He looked at me like I was a much older version of Steph Curry. How long would his amazement last?


My first two classes of 8th graders were retesting a few strengthening exercises, like pull-ups, doing a plank, and something called a “wall sit” where they sit against a wall as if there is a chair underneath them. Some of them were done doing all three exercises in ten minutes. Did I say that the longer it takes someone the better? On the other hand, one young lady did a wall sit for a solid hour. I had to go and inform her math teacher that she would be late because she was still sitting. It’s amazing how some students will push themselves, while others are much more proficient at pushing the patience of the teacher!

Archery safe word: Big Bro!

No one died in archery today. The only wounds were to the pride of a number of students who couldn’t shoot it into the ocean!

My lunch today was a PB and honey sandwich on multi-grain bread, complimented with a side of carrot sticks.

My sixth grade buddy told a few others about my free throw shooting, so I had a little flock of his classmates watching me shoot free throws before class. I only made 16 in a row today, but they were still amazed. It is much easier to amaze sixth graders than it is eighth graders!

A seventh grade girl came to me before class wearing cowboy boots. “Do you think I can run in these today?” I gave her the “Are you serious?” look.


Hump Day in a week where the temperature has continued to dip. My first two 8th grade classes were scheduled to go outside for some “jump rope conditioning”. I was all set, but then they started whining about the fact that with the wind chill the temperature was six degrees. I reminded them of all the games that had been played over the years at “The Frozen Tundra” in Green Bay. When a few of the students asked me where in Colorado Green Bay is located I knew it was a lost cause.

Brain Light Bulb On! Single digit wind chill days are a good threat in the curing of annoying students. Think of it as being like weather-related Castor Oil!

My lunch today was a PB and honey sandwich on multi-grain bread, complimented with a side of carrot sticks.

The boy’s locker room smells like a Port-a-Potty! I walk through it several times a day to wake myself up! It is a multi-sensory experience!


Two new sixth grade students came into my classes today. They looked like they were being led to their execution. I calmed them down and had everyone say hi to them. Being a new student in school on December 1 is a hard road to walk. They stick out like a sore thumb, because everyone else has their official P.E. shirt and shorts on…and they don’t. We hooked each one of them up with a couple of students who have the gift of acceptance and hospitality. These are students who did not heap “annoying” on to their plates when they went through the character traits buffet line.

The last day of archery and no one died! Safe word once again is “Big Bro!”

My lunch today was a PB and honey sandwich on multi-grain bread, complimented with a side of carrot sticks.

The sixth grade boy, who was amazed on Monday by my free throw shooting, came up to me and said, “Coach, I wore this for you!” He had a “Steph Curry” jersey on underneath his official P.E. shirt. I was flattered and then made 30 in a row before class started.

In my role as P.E. teacher I look to bring in other academic disciplines…such as geography! Today I had the sixth grade classes line up in order of where they were born…close to Colorado Springs at one end of the line and extending out from there according to distance away. When I got to the end of the line and two students born in North Dakota were on the other side of the student who was born in Hawaii we had a little geography lesson. “I know that North Dakota seems like it’s a world away, but Hawaii is about half an ocean further!”

At the end of the day we took down the archery range and breathed a sigh of relief!


Last day of the week! Six classes of endurance to reach the finish line! A day of dodgeball and keeping control of the chaos. There is something about sixth graders on Fridays! They start popping like popcorn, energy and excitement springing to the surface. They are prone to lose all perspective, like inmates in the prison yard who might start rioting at any moment. One boy throws a volleyball at another student’s head, another student kicks a soccer ball into an a group of classmates that are just standing there. Ice packs are ready for distribution. Fridays are the best reason for there to be a 4-day school week!

My lunch today was a PB and honey sandwich on multi-grain bread, complimented with a side of carrot sticks!

The afternoon’s highlight was a young lady in one the seventh grade classes who nailed a few of the boys in dodgeball with pinpoint accuracy. By the end of the class period boys were running from her as she approached the line with one of the dodgeballs. Awesome!

At 3:00 I checked out! It was a good week, and I was looking forward to a Saturday lunch that did not include peanut butter, honey, and carrot sticks!

Lessons I’ve Learned From a Week of Substitute Teaching

April 30, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                             APRIL 30, 2016


It is April 30! That means there are a lot of school teachers who have reached the teaching equivalent of the Boston Marathon’s “Heartbreak Hill”, a torturous climb at of about a half-mile between miles 20 and 21 of the race. A lot of teachers are “looking at the hill” right now and wondering if they can make it.

Thus, the number of calls to substitute teach have increased substantially! This week I spent two days with first graders, one day in junior high physical education, and one day in a high school strength and conditioning class. I could write a book…or at least a blog…on what I’ve learned, good and bad. Here’s a few:

1) First grade girls think having man for a substitute is like having one of the Disney characters visit the class. Although I resembled Goofy, they thought it was awesome!

2) When you play dodgeball with a class of 7th and 8th graders you become the target! I visited my optometrist after school to get my glasses readjusted as a result of getting hit…several times!

3) Being the substitute teacher in a strength and conditioning class is the equivalent of being a lame-duck elected official. They know your time is short so they just wait you out. (Personal note: Never ever ever sub for this class again! Lame!)

4) In junior high physical education the boy who says he can’t participate because of an injury…is the student to keep your eye on! Who brings suckers to PE class to pass out to those playing dodgeball?

5) In first grade there are “helpers” who will always willingly come to your rescue. You just have to keep an eye on two helpers who are both pushing on one another in order to be the first one to come to your rescue.

6) Being educated in the 60’s and 70’s means that there will always be concepts and terms used in today’s classroom that you will be totally clueless about!

7) First grade PE is the classroom teacher’s best friend!

8) Strength and conditioning class is a microcosm of today’s work force. There are those who will do as much as they can…and there are those who will do as little as possible…and those who will look busy when the boss looks their way.

9) First grade girls already have their eyes on who “the boys” are! They are already in pre-relationship mode! On the other hand, the boys are totally clueless. They are willing to show interest in the girls, but only after the soccer ball has become totally deflated and there is nothing else to do.

10) Dismissal at the end of a first grade day begins with a high five from the teacher as each student is leaving the classroom.

11) Each junior high PE class has at least one student who took a double dose of “obnoxious medicine” that morning.

12) I eat healthier when I substitute teach. Instead of being coerced by my granddaughter to go out to lunch at Chick-fil-a, I sit in my classroom eating raw vegetables.

13) At the end of the day first grade students are almost sad to leave you, junior high students will willingly trample over you if you don’t move, and high school students are focused on their cell phones as they walk obliviously towards the chaotic parking lot.

14) BUT when the substitute teacher leaves at the end of the day…he has no papers to take home to grade! Awesome!