Teaching at 17? #3- Creating Our ‘What We Love’ Board

Friday October 7th, 2016

Today was the last day before fall break. The end of, arguable, the work, most stressful week of the year, especially for seniors. I knew that i was going to have group fitness that day, so I tried to think of something that would spread some good vibes and have everyone walking out of the class smiling and feeling good about themselves. So I thought of this: The ‘What We Love’ Board. Over the last 6 months, my relationship with my body and myself has changed significantly (for the good). I wanted to see how the kids in the class’ views on their bodies could change throughout the year. This is how I ran the activity: I had everyone sit in a circle next to 1 or 2 people who they felt comfortable and close with. Each person got 4 pieces of paper: 1 white scrap square, 1 pink post-it not, 1 blue posit-it note, and 1 green post-it note. First, everyone wrote down one thing that they didn’t like about their bodies/physical appearance on the white scrap paper. Once everybody had something written down, I put a trash can in the middle of the circle, and had everyone crumple up their piece of paper and throw it into the trash can. Once we got rid of all the bad thoughts, we wrote one thing we liked about ourselves on the pink post-it. For example, mine was my laugh and my ability to make other people laugh. This had nothing to do with my physical appearance, which is the whole point. I had everyone hold on to it and got them into their pairs/groups. With the other 2 post-it’s, I had them write something they liked about their partners (physical or personality). When everybody had something written down on each post-it, I had them all stick it up on a big poster. Our plan is to keep the poster with stickies up in the room all year to remind everyone how much good there is in the room. I want to run this activity multiple times this year to expand our ‘What We Love’ board. By the end of the year, I hope we have one giant poster of happiness and god vibes!

Teaching at 17? #2

Today I did something really exciting: I led a whole group fitness class from start to finish! And it was such a good feeling. I started writing the workout about a week ago and worked on it little by little up until today. There was a warm-up, circuit, challenge, and warm-down. In addition to that, I also created the playlist to go along with the workout. I definitely learned a lot today and I’m looking forward to teaching again in the future so I can see how I improve.

So for today’s workout, I wanted to do something a little different from what we had been doing (body pump), so I decided that we were going to do a circuit. I started by splitting the class up into groups. Although it seems like such a 3rd grade thing to make groups, I think it’s extremely effective in this context. I spent a good 20 minutes picking the groups. I started by making sure that there was a good mix of boys and girls in each group. I then made sure I split up the students who I knew were friends, and put them with people that I hadn’t seen them interact with a lot. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out, but I think it did! There were exercises that required partners, and I really saw some students going out of their comfort zones and working with people they normally wouldn’t work with. So then it was time to create the workout. I went into the storage room where we have all of our equipment, and picked 5 pieces that I wanted to work with. I then thought back to all of the workouts I’ve done before and picked my favorite exercises using each piece of equipment, and there was the workout.


Main set: Circuit; 2 rounds straight through 2 min water break}repeat  (45 seconds on, 15 seconds off; 5 mins per round)

5 groups of four (mix up, 2 girls 2 boys)

  1. Squat/Burpees
    1. All rounds: 5 squats holding weight overhead (arms stay straight), 5 air burpees w/ push-up
  2. BOSU Ball push-ups
    1. Round 1-2: regular push-ups (with knees for regression)
    2. Round 3-4: push-up with bounce (if too tired or want a regression, regular push-ups)
  3. Kettle Bell Swings
    1. Round 1-2: Both hands
    2. Round 3-4: Singles, switch hands at top
  4. Med balls
    1. Round 1-2: Bounce w/ chest pass
    2. Round 3-4: Sit up w/ OH throw
  5. Ladders
    1. Round 1-2: Quick feet, shuffle on the way back
    2. Round 3-4: Hip switches, shuffle back (switch sides each time)


After we finished the circuit portion, everyone seemed pretty tired, so I had planned to do a couple yoga challenges. We did a few of them and they were really fun. I had the class get into groups of 2-4 people that they felt comfortable with and we went on. The challenges we did were the push-up chain, plank pyramid, and the box sit-up/pike.

Students trying the push-up chain challenge!

Students trying the push-up chain challenge!

Students trying the push-up chain challenge!

Students trying the push-up chain challenge!

Overall, I think today’s workout went really well. I recapped after class with my mentor and we talked about some things that went well and some things I could work on for next time. Can’t wait for next time! And stay tuned to stay updated about a 17 year old teaching PE!

Teaching at 17?

It has now been 2 weeks since the first day of senior year, and it has been everything I’ve hoped for. All summer, my sister dreaded the countdown for school to start, but for some weird reason, I was super excited. I was that weird person who couldn’t wait to get back to SAS and start school again. Maybe it was the excitement of senior year, maybe it was to be back with my friends again, who knows. But the one thing that I know drove my excitement was the anticipation of one of my classes. This year, I decided to do an independent learning, where I am learning how to be a PE teacher by student teaching a Group Fitness class in my high school. I’ve been working with my mentor (the Group Fitness teacher), to create my own curriculum and learning milestones. While some of my friends think it’s extremely weird and slightly abnormal that I had such a strong desire to learn how to be a teacher, I think it’s exactly what I needed to be doing at this time in my life. Yes, I do have a lot of time before I even have to begin thinking about what I want to do as a job, but this is giving me that extra little boost of energy to keep going with all of my other work.

Being so passionate about health, physical education and nutrition, this is the best way for me to begin working with students to help them learn how to create their own healthy lifestyles. I mean, I truly believe that every PE teachers intention is to help their students create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle, right? Now that we’ve had quite a few classes and I’ve gotten to know some of the other kids in my class, I’m beginning to slowly realize how much joy doing this brings me. To see girls walk in that don’t know how to do a movement, and to slowly see them gain confidence and work hard is a really special thing to be a part of. As an athlete, it inspires me to work harder in everything I do at practice.

Who really knows where I’ll end up in 2, 4, 8 years? I mean maybe i’ll be doing my residency as a neuro surgeon at some big hospital (haha, NOT), but having this opportunity to get a little taste into this one profession at the age of 17 is truly an amazing opportunity for me. I will be keeping you guys posted as I continue through the year as a student-teacher in Group Fitness!