7 Habits of Highly Effective #Physed Teachers

Anyone who has read Stephen Covey’s, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” will have a deep appreciation for the knowledge and content in this #PhysED version. For those of you who haven’t read the book, but plan to do so; prepare to be transformed.
Keeping Covey’s ideas simple can keep our Physical Education simple as well. We all teach differently, we all possess different circles of influence, and we all share a different set of values. However, if you are reading this there is one thing we do share; our love for Physical Education as well as physical and health literacy. Given this, here are some words to reflect on and share with fellow pedagogues regarding Physical Education.How to be a group of the most Effective #PhysEd teachers on the planet:

Habit #1: Be Proactive:

If you are reading this blog, you are an ongoing planner. Each week you should set new goals for not only your students and families, but also for yourself. You try to rotate curriculum units, lesson plans,family decisions and your decisions with friends to both improve your quality of life and the quality of your PE lessons between monday and friday.

Habit #2: Begin With The End in Mind:

Unit planning! You can all unit plan, but can you unit plan effectively? Be realistic yet optimistic when looking at covering your PE material. Look towards meeting both short term and long term goals within your academic year and look towards the future with your students. You may ask yourself “Where do I see myself in 5 years? In ten years?” Better yet, asking “Where do I see PE in 5 years? Where do I want to see my students in 5 years? 10 years?” These are deep, unavoidable questions in transitioning into a more effective #PE teacher.

Habit #3: Put First Things First:

In #PhysEd… Learn to say no! As PE teachers we often get extra loads of superfluous work due to us being “gym” teachers. To eradicate this, not only do we need to practice every habit in every facet of our lives, we need to be able to say no effectively. Saying “no” effectively could look like, “I would absolutely love to take this extra program on, however it is very short notice and I think this program has loads of potential. Let me mark it in my book to start next term.” You and your family come first, beliefs second and being an effective #PhysEd teacher comes third.

Habit #4: Think Win/Win:

If you are actively practicing the above three habits, you will be shocked at how fast the quality of your PE lessons will improve. I have seen this habit personally play out in my life as a physical educator. Building on the first three habits we can build effective relationships within local recreation departments, community centers, etc. When we build these relationships through time, we can then ask for things such as rink ice time rentals, snowshoes, paddles and various other resources; almost instantly. You will find quickly that thinking proactively will allow you to ‘win’. The resources you call upon for your PE classes ‘win’ by you utilizing their equipment (effectively). The community ‘wins’ from students giving back to that building or resource when they take on a future leadership course and/or become mature citizens of that community. Your school and the students also ‘win’ from exposure to extra curricular opportunities and alternate ways of active participation. Administration often wins as well, because they can utilize the gymnasium while you are outside scaffolding learning in the community. Everybody wins when you become an effective #PE teacher!

Habit #5: Seek First to Understand…Then to Be Understood:

Relationship building in #PhysEd is critical to student and job success. Understand your students and administration first, then allow them to understand you. Ask key empathetic questions and listen instead of speaking. This “active listening” or “empathetic ear” with students can really allow them to become more emotionally engaged within your lessons and build both mutual respect and rapport!

Habit #6: Synergize:

As a #PhysEd teacher you are probably thinking of how many ways you can apply these habits first thing tomorrow morning. That is awesome! Knowing this, you will start to see synergy within your life, school, and surrounding community. Thinking ‘win, win’, actively listening to others, being proactive and putting important people and beliefs first in your life will allow everything to happen much easier. An example of this in PE would be when the time and energy you have spent knowing your administration and community resources all come together to help out with a local fundraiser for your community track & field team without hesitation. This synergy allows for your students, administration and community to interact effectively and further builds your reputation as an outstanding physical educator.

Habit #7: Sharpen The Saw:

A year from now, come back to this blog. Think about all of these habits and how you combined them to become an even more successfully effective PE teacher. That yearly calendar you have represents a saw. A saw will dull if it works and works continuously. This is a great thing! However, there comes a time when you must sharpen your saw. Sharpening your saw or ‘life calendar’ by rotating jobs, units, grade levels, percentages of work, extra curricular activities, living arrangements, relationships, bills, etc are all necessary to continually practice these habits to become a sustainably successful and effective #PhysEd teacher. Change is good! As a matter of fact, the only thing that is constant in leadership and #PhysEd is change. Keep your saw, but always remember to sharpen it.

For those of you who have read the book, how do you live the 7 habits on a daily basis? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below or connect with me on Twitter (@wellnessrf)!

Thanks for reading!


Joey Feith is the founder of He currently teaches elementary physical education at St. George’s School of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.

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