Physical Education

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Major in Physical Education

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“Work gives us the opportunity to use our endowed talents to showcase God’s love for the world.” ~Christos Makridis

Spend five minutes researching our nation’s obesity epidemic and you will quickly understand why it has been deemed a health crisis! Physical activity has been shown to not only control weight, but stress and anxiety as well, proving its mental health as well as physical fitness benefits. In addition, being physically active has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, improve strength and endurance and even prolong life expectancy. Therefore, it only makes sense to promote an active lifestyle wherever possible, including in our schools where children are encouraged to develop healthy exercise habits. Physical education, as a major, promotes lifelong physical fitness in children and adolescents, as well as in adults. It is a great major for someone with a passion for health, who enjoys sports and models a well-balanced lifestyle. 

In addition to this desire to encourage activity and wellness, a physical education major should possess certain traits such as good communication and interpersonal skills. These are necessary when working as a team player amongst other staff members, administrators, parents and students. If your goal is to become a P.E. teacher, it should go without saying that you enjoy kids and have strong teaching skills. Sometimes this is overlooked, however, by those more interested in sports and games than in the people into whom they will be investing time and energy. Being a P.E. teacher is a demanding job that requires creativity, organization and energy in order to keep students engaged and moving for six-plus hours a day! Even if you end up in a field other than teaching, it is important to be patient and compassionate since you will deal with individuals of all skill levels and athletic abilities, all of whom need to be motivated by your leadership, good sportsmanship and praise.

As a physical education major you can expect to take a plethora of science classes including biology, physics, anatomy and physiology. You will also learn about the prevention and care of injuries and delve into the history and philosophy of physical education. You may expect to participate in labs that focus on individual, dual or group sports, including net and wall games. Generally speaking, a degree in physical education will require a semester of student teaching near the end of your program. Some other examples of classes you might take include:

  • Biomechanics
  • Motor Development
  • Physiology of Exercise
  • Psychology of Sport
  • Concepts of Motor Skills 

While most students who earn a degree in physical education go on to become elementary or post-secondary P.E. teachers, there are others who end up in alternative careers, as well. Some possible career outcomes for those with a physical education degree are:

  • Exercise physiologist
  • Personal trainer
  • Coach/Intramural sports program director
  • Sports nutritionist
  • Fitness center manager
  • Athletic director
  • Athletic trainer

It’s no accident your Creator has wired you with a love for physical activity and a desire to educate others about the benefits of exercise. If you enjoy fitness and desire to lead others to new heights of healthy living, then perhaps God is leading you to major in physical education!

 

A future in Physical Education

By Jennifer Bailey

A degree in physical education prepares you for a career in teaching and coaching classes related to: general exercise, recreation, games, sports, fitness, nutrition and hygiene.

Undergraduate degrees prepare teachers and coaches for grades K-12. If obtaining your masters is your goal, then it would open up teaching on a college level. Though it may seem like just fun and games- pun intended- students desiring to graduate with this degree, also take serious academic courses on subjects such as kinesiology, morphology and physiology which is the study of motion, body structure and function. The science and art of teaching also play an important role in the curriculum for a physical education degree as ultimately you would become a teacher that needs to work well in both the science and art realms.

Given the current health trends in our country, a physical education degree provides you with the opportunity to help our increasingly sedentary population which is also affected with a high population of people who are obese. Once upon a time, this field was devalued; however, statistics are inciting parents and teachers of the current generation of kids to live a more active and healthier lifestyle. As a result, a physical education degree should grow in importance and popularity.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.

Educators place an increasing emphasis on integrating these disciplines more directly into their curriculum. In addition, leisure time for early retirees and senior citizens - a growing segment of the population - increases demand for graduates with career training in fitness, exercise and health.

Before beginning this degree program, you should consider as many aspects of this career as possible. For instance, you might ask coaches and teachers about the challenges and rewards of the job. Coaches do get to spend all their time on their favorite sport, but also work very long hours, both during the competitive season and the off-season.

The curriculum may surprise you, as well. In addition to the expected course subjects, most programs include classes on the science of motion, function and body structure. The details of fitness, nutrition, and hygiene for health classes receive critical context through more complex courses in various sciences.

Are you naturally a "people person"? You will need to be in this career, as instructing pupils in gym classes or on a field, requires interpersonal skills including good communication, leadership and discipline. While teachers in other subject areas may focus on a text or an abstract idea, instructors in physical education engage with their students in an intense, dynamic way that cannot really be scripted very well. It happens naturally and in the moment.