Veteran PE teachers can make a difference in the success of newly hired physical education teachers. Often, new teachers can feel overwhelmed in the transition to a new position. Here are six ways a veteran physical education teacher can take a leadership role to support a new PE teacher:
- Create opportunities to observe other teachers.
- Offer to teach some of the new teacher’s classes so they can see how master teachers interact with students and manage student behavior.
- Set up observation visits with physical education teachers, as well as teachers of other disciplines such as technology, art and science.
- Include classroom observations that have students with special needs and English language learners.
- Engage the new physical educator in conversations about their observations and new insights gained.
- Offer support with classroom management.
- Offer to team teach in a class the new PE teacher finds challenging due to high enrollment or difficulties with management. Team teaching allows the new teacher time to learn students’ names, which is key to managing student behaviors. Moreover, the presence of a veteran physical education teacher in a team-teaching situation may temper students’ behaviors and make a class easier to manage.
- Help them with the “little things.”
- Introduce the new teacher to the custodians, secretaries, cafeteria staff, hall monitors, etc. Remind them to include the new teacher in meetings that faculty are aware of but that aren’t always on the calendar or are easily overlooked.
- Share valuable teaching resources and lesson plan websites.
- Help the new teacher learn how to use school technology for tasks such as accessing their email, recording attendance, setting up their grade books, and checking the daily bulletin for important announcements.
- Most importantly, be a good listener, help them problem solve, and resist telling the newbie everything during the first few weeks that took you years to learn.
- Write a feature article about the new physical education teacher.
- Write an article for the school newsletter that introduces the new PE teacher to students, staff and parents. Focus on the new teacher’s interests and lifestyle. This will help the school community feel as though they have gotten to know the teacher as a person and not just as the new physical education teacher. Be sure to include a photo.
- Invite them to attend professional development events with you.
- Invite your new colleague to attend a professional workshop or conference with you. Professional conferences, in particular, can be overwhelming to navigate the first time. Additionally, it will give you both a chance to talk as there is little time to have meaningful conversations during the school day.
- Another low-cost alternative is to invite the new teacher to listen to a webinar with you. Be sure to bring some refreshments to enjoy while listening and learning.
- Make your new colleague feel valued.
- Let the new teacher know how glad you are that they have chosen to work at your school, how fortunate the students are to have them share their expertise, and how happy you are to have them as a colleague.
- New teachers often experience a wide range of emotions, from excitement to being anxious or scared. As a veteran teacher, you can alleviate these fears by letting the new teacher know that you support them and want to help them be successful in their new position.
Catherine Cardina (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an associate professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition, and Dietetics at Buffalo State, State University of New York. She is a New York State certified teacher in physical education and health education. Her area of expertise is in professional development.
Alisa James (email@example.com) is a professor in physical education and former program coordinator in the Physical Education Teacher Education program at The College at Brockport, State University of New York. She is also the Associate Dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Services at The College at Brockport, State University of New York.