Last week, as part of our ongoing Teacher Appreciation Month, we gave a shout-out to Sue Ellen Baez, a special education teacher at P.S. 46 in New York City. This week, we introduce Sally Schulte, the K-12 PE Lead for the Wentzville School District in Wentzville, Missouri. We asked her a few of the same questions. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: Why did you want to become a teacher?
A: I knew from an early age that education was my calling. What to teach was more the question. I was really into foreign languages as a middle and high school student and was going to teach overseas when I “grew up”. But, I had an epiphany in early college. Most of my physical education experiences were less than stellar. I was the type of kid that played sports, but really enjoyed the WHY. The science behind healthy living fascinated me. So, I decided to become a health and physical educator to give kids better experiences than I had. My goal is to help kids understand the WHY of healthy living and give them opportunities to try new activities (a variety of team sports, individual sports, and lifetime activities) and find something that they can stick with throughout their lives!
Q: From your perspective, how impactful is daily movement breaks to students ability to focus?
A: Daily movement breaks are IMPERATIVE to learning. So many of our students are coming to us underdeveloped (especially at the brain-body level). Our curriculums are rigorous starting in kindergarten and our students start at a deficit. Until those deficits are met, our students struggle with their learning and behaviors. These MINDFUL movement breaks are a necessity to help kids close those brain-body development gaps. The more opportunities they have (in class, hallways, PE, recess) the greater chance they have at growing in all areas (social, emotional, and academics).
Q: What is a key challenge to engaging your students with physical activity during the school day?
A: Make it relevant! During PE we share activities that are in their current world. We can use the same great skills-based activity every year, since we just modify it and make it something they can connect with. When we start a unit with new equipment we show our kids many different ways to use that equipment or something similar they might have at home. We make sure to cover activities that are available in our community AND we make it FUN!! So many ways to do that, colorful equipment, music, story-telling, enthusiasm, play with our students, positivity, etc…
Q: How often do your students have access to recess time or physical activity?
A: Our students currently get 2 recesses a day (10 min and 25 min). They also have a 50 min. PE class twice in a 5-day rotation.
Thank you, Sally, for all you do for the Wentzville School District. Teachers like you are an inspiration for those of us who work outside education, and we’re proud to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Month here at Fit and Fun Playscapes.
Do your kids have access to two recesses a day, like Sally’s? Let us know!