Lil’ Help? Not Coach X

If you are new to “Lil’ Help?”, the advice column for physical educators, the idea is that members of the #physed community could submit issues that they have with their own teaching (things that we know we could be doing better) anonymously and then invite the community to analyze these issues and provide possible solutions.

Using a combination of the blog’s comments functionality (which allows for more characters than Twitter), we should be able to get a good discussion going around some of these issues.

That being said, here is the latest issue I’d ask you to tackle (submitted anonymously by a member of our community):

Name: Not Coach X
Grade Levels Taught: Middle School (7-8)
Issue: It is January and I just replaced the Physical Education teacher at a school where I had been working as a substitute. I have a good relationship with the students at the school, and the full support of the administration. I’ve taught Physical Education for 20 years in a lot of settings and with all grade levels.

My problem is that the PE teacher that was at the school for several years had just been letting the kids play games like dodgeball and kickball. When they did play a sport it was with just one piece of equipment and it was a full on regulation match. They are über competitive and rude to each other. I have my third class meeting with them today and have been cheerfully ignoring their “Where is Coach X?” and “That’s not how Coach X does things” comments. We started off with a team handball unit. In true 8th grade form they are having little protests about, well basically everything.

Any suggestions for turning them to the light side? How about a good recommendation for the next unit…something that 8th grade boys will think is the best thing ever?

How would you help “Not Coach X” with their problem? What strategies have worked for you when dealing with such issues? Leave your helpful tips in the comments below!

Do you have issues with your own teaching that you would like to share anonymously? If so, fill out this short Google Form and I will feature your issue in the next edition of Lil’ Help!

Thanks for helping out and happy teaching!


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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