The Next Chapter
by Joey Feith
For almost five years now, I have been doing my very best to develop ThePhysicalEducator.com into a resource that can help physical educators find inspiration, resources, and connections that will enable them to become the best teacher they can be.
Through my work on this site, I’ve had to venture into different industries and pick up new skills that I never thought I’d ever need. I’ve tried to learn the ropes of social media and online community building, I’ve taught myself the very basics of web design, I’ve dabble in graphic design and animations, and I’ve even done my best to develop skills as a public speaker.
I love the work I do at ThePhysicalEducator.com (and I’m not stopping any time soon), but the work I do here would not be possible were it not fuelled by my absolute true passion: teaching young people how to develop their inner potential and adopt healthy, active lifestyles through quality physical education.
Today, I’ve got some exciting news that I wanted to share with all of you. But first, let me share how I got here in the first place:
Once Upon A Time…
I graduated university in 2009 and could not wait to get into the workforce. However, it turned out that the workforce wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic about me getting a job as I was. I quickly found myself without a teaching contract, very little supply work, and a passion that was slowly burning out.
It was during that time that I launched ThePhysicalEducator.com as a tool to help me stay connected with the world of physical education and continue my professional development.
The site started getting some decent traction, which was very exciting, but I still wasn’t teaching and was starting to get worried that my dream of being a physical educator wasn’t going to ever come true.
One morning on a late August day, I saw a Facebook update from a friend who I had graduated with saying that there was a physical education position that had just opened up in a small school on the south shore of Montreal (in case you didn’t know, Montreal is an island). I immediately contacted the school asking if they were indeed looking for a PE teacher. They said that they were, and that I could go in for an interview the next day. Nervous that the opportunity might pass me by, I asked if I could go in that afternoon instead. They agreed, I suited up, and went in for the interview. That first trip would turn out to be the first of hundreds of commutes out to Royal Charles School.
Royal Charles School (RCS), which is part of Riverside School Board, is a tiny little elementary school in St-Hubert, Quebec and it would be my home for the next three years. As the school’s only physical education specialist, I got to know each of the school’s 150 students, who were grouped into the school’s seven total classrooms.
Over the time I spent there, I got to know the schools amazing faculty/staff and work under a principal who believed in my ideas of what physical education should be.
RCS helped me grow as a teacher, develop many of the ideas/resources you find on this site, and, most important, re-ignite my passion for teaching children physical education. I loved that school and have so many great memories from there that I will never forget.
That being said, there were some factors that made it difficult for me to spend my entire career at Royal Charles. Since the school is so small, my contract was only 54% (I taught there only three days a week). Being a part time teacher who was low on the seniority list meant that, every summer, I had to wait until mid August to even know if I still had my job come September. Also, since I live in Montreal, commuting to the south shore every day meant a lot of time spent on a bus. Travelling around by made it difficult to complement my part time contract with supply work (especially since Riverside School Board is quite spread out).
I loved teaching at Royal Charles School, but, although I tried to make it work, it wasn’t meant to last forever.
An Unexpected Call…
On Friday, July 4th, just as I was about to head out on a run, I received a very unexpected phone call from St. George’s School of Montreal asking me if I would be interested in going in for an interview for a physical education teacher position at St. George’s elementary school.
I had already done quite a bit of research on St. George’s, especially since my brother had been teaching science there for the past year, and was very excited about the call. Since I was leaving for Nova Scotia very soon, the school was able to move the interview to that very day and I found myself sitting in St. George’s head office’s lobby 45 minutes later.
I felt that the interview went really great, I was confident in how I did (they asked a lot of questions on curriculum and assessment), and I headed home with some serious pep in my step.
The following Monday, I got a call back from the school. I am very excited and proud to say that I will be joining the St. George’s School of Montreal team come September!
The Next Chapter…
There are a million reasons why I am excited to be a part of the St. George’s team. I’d love to list them all, but this post is already pretty lengthy. How about I share my top five instead:
1. A Sense Of Mission
Mission statement are incredibly powerful tools. They can help guide decision, mold the curriculum, and shape the school’s atmosphere.
I’ve always wanted to work for a school with a strong sense of mission, and St. George’s is exactly that. The first thing you see as you walk into their main offices is their mission statement which reads:
St. George’s mission statement is perfectly aligned with what I believe is essential to quality physical education: a student-centred approach through which everyone can experience success and be challenged in a positive learning environment.
I could not be more excited to be a part of this mission!
2. Founding Principles
On top of a mission statement, St. George’s also has overarching guiding principles which help set the tone of the school. Check out #1:
Yeah… I’m pumped!
3. Physical Education Department
Although I know I always have Team #PhysEd there to support and inspire me no matter where I may be, I am really excited that I will be part of a real life physical education team at St. George’s! I’ve heard nothing but great things about the PE team at the school, I’m really looking forward to doing whatever I can to help the PE department at St. George’s continue to improve and expand their physical education program.
Mostly, I’m just looking forward to having fellow physical educators I can hang out and laugh with.
4. Professional Development
St. George’s wants to provide their students with the absolute best educational experience possible, and the school realizes that means having their teachers being the best educators they can be. I’m really excited to be sharing my own experiences with professional development via social media and to continue my journey towards becoming the best teacher I can be. Hopefully, we might even get some new faces joining our #physed community!
Lastly, St. George’s is right by my home (I can walk to work), which means that I will be working with the young people of my community. Ever since my days of working the day camps in my hometown of Chambly, I’ve always loved being able to give back to my community. Getting to see campers/students being active outside of class and inspiring families to take on new healthy challenges is incredibly rewarding, and I can’t wait to get to be a part of that again.
A New Start
So why am I sharing this with all of you? Well, I don’t think I could have made it here without you. The #physed community has taught me more about physical education than my undergraduate degree ever did (no offence McGill, but my learning was never meant to end with you). I am incredibly grateful for all of your help and support over the last few years and I’m really looking forward to continuing this journey together.
As I get started at St. George’s, I will make an effort to blog about the process of getting started at a new school as much as I possibly can. I know that when I first started teaching, I would have really appreciated having a teacher’s first hand experience to read about to help me get started. Hopefully, the posts/resources/videos I create over the next few months will serve that purpose for new teachers joining our community.
Again, thank you for reading, your support, and your inspiration.
I am so wildly excited!
Joey Feith is a physical education teacher from Canada and the founder of ThePhysicalEducator.com. Be sure to never miss out on any of ThePhysicalEducator.com’s future posts by connecting with us via RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Email.
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