Phys ed teachers transition to teaching fitness remotely

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Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic prompted the shutdown of New York City schools, teachers transitioned to using remote learning. Most classes don’t have a problem with this, as Google Classroom has always been a major resource for teachers to communicate with their students. However, physical education teachers face a new challenge: transitioning to remote learning in the absence of a structured physical education (PE) class.

The sudden change to remote learning means that PE teachers now have to create lesson plans through a virtual platform. This, unfortunately, removes the student/teacher interactions that physical education highly values. Despite these changes, teachers have been able to find ways to teach their lessons online. Athletic Director and PE teacher Ms. Caiaccia said, “Currently, I am using Google Classroom as my primary means of communication. This may evolve as time goes by, but for now, it is an efficient and effective tool.” Google Classroom has become a source for PE teachers to convey their lessons and the “value” of exercising at home.

Ms. Assante, the aerobics and health teacher, has also been assigning her students their work through Google Classroom. One of her students, junior Jaida Boodram said, “Ms. Assante has assigned articles about how to keep mentally healthy during these times, and workouts to do that require questions, which is some sort of reflection to be done after.” Senior Emily Yan thinks her assignments are beneficial in helping students stay active. “I feel that this is an adequate way of making sure that students are staying fit by giving easy workout videos to follow at home,” said Emily.

Mr. Bermudez, another health and Physical Education teacher, gave his students workout reflections that they have to complete three times a week. Each reflection contains four questions, such as “what did you do today?” or “how intense were your workouts?” Junior Natalie Villacres says she prefers this method of learning more than working out in class. “I actually like working out at home because for a lot of people it’s never really comfortable working out in front of others, like how we do in school. So, it’s much easier to push myself and feel comfortable exercising when I’m home and get to do it on my own schedule,” she said.

Other PE teachers have taken a different approach. Ms. Figelman, who teaches weight training, said, “I created a new Instagram account [so] you can see where I will be posting different types of workouts, and they can use these videos as a reference.” This Instagram page is a public account that students can access anytime. When asked about class expectations, junior Anil Singh said, “Ms. Fig posts weekly workouts that we have to do twice a week. We then have to record ourselves and submit the videos.” Ms. Figelman also advised that her students workout and alleviate their stress for the next few months while also enjoying fitness.

Even on such short notice, Physical Education teachers have been able to maintain a connection with their students in order to teach their lessons and make sure they stay fit. As Mr. Lemanczyk put it, “We are encouraged to stay inside and isolate, but there is no reason we can’t continue to exercise and take care of the body and mind. Fitness and exercise is essential to living a life of wellness and happiness.”