How I Teach: Andy Milne

How I Teach: Andy Milne

The more I teach, the more I realize how lucky I am to be a part of the #physed community. Every day, I find myself being inspired and wowed by this group of amazing teachers from around the world. That’s why I’ve decided to take a second each week and highlight one of these incredible educators. This week’s post comes from the 2017 SHAPE America National Health Teacher of the Year (Congrats!):

How I Teach Andy Milne Banner

Name: Andy Milne
Where Are You From: London, England but now in Illinois, USA
Where Do You Teach: New Trier High School, Winnetka
One word that best describes how you teach: Passion

What apps/tools/resources can’t you live without?

I’m an Apple fanboy so my iPhone, iPad and Mac are never too far away. Garageband and iBookAuthor have allowed me to create teaching materials that I never imagined possible when I first started teaching in 1994.

What do your #physed classes look like?

Although I am seen as more of a #healthed teacher, I am still fortunate to teach PE (or Kinetic Wellness as we call it at my school) to juniors and seniors. Because of the nature of my ‘Lifetime Activities’ curriculum and the make up of my cohort of students, much of my teaching focuses on making students feel competent and confident. Many of my students have the impression that they are ‘not good’ at PE and so I modify instruction to increase the chances of them being successful in order to boost their confidence.

My classes are co-ed and I encourage students to move out of their peer groups in order to get the most out of their time – we have DAILY PE for 40 minutes per day so my students get to see each other quite a lot over the course of the year. If you ask my students what they think I value most they will probably say the ‘affective domain’ as they hear me talk about it all of the time. If my aim is to encourage students to be active throughout their lifetime, they need their peers to see them as friendly, cooperative, welcoming, encouraging, dependable, respectful etc if they want to be able to share future movement opportunities in the company of others!

What’s the most unique thing about your teaching?

My ability to build strong relationships with students. Aaron Beighle says that you should be able to confidently state two things about each of the students in your class. By the end of the year with my PE students I can sit them down and ‘read’ them. I can tell them things about themselves that they hadn’t thought about. It’s pretty powerful and I’ve been so accurate with some students I’ve had them in tears.

What’s the best teaching advice you’ve ever received?

This is less about teaching and more about how young PE teachers should perceive themselves. Early in my career I remember being with a group of teachers of all subject areas and made a comment along the lines of “well, what do I know, I’m just a PE teacher”. Although I was probably trying to be funny, a Social Studies teacher later pulled me aside and told me never to disparage my subject or undermine myself because I thought that PE had less of a place in the curriculum. Since then I have NEVER said anything similar and if you know me you know that I’m a huge fan of advocating for health and PE and I actively encourage teachers to come together to amplify their voice in the face of opposition.

Where can people find you online?

Twitter: @carmelhealth (little know fact – Carmel Catholic High School gave me my first big break in America hence the name) (inspired by the successful #slowchatpe from Justin Schleider)

Fundraiser: (through the sale of merchandise we successfully assisted two young teachers from Boston Public Schools to attend #SHAPEBoston. We are working towards doing the same for #SHAPENashville)


Joey Feith is the founder of Having taught elementary physical education for 10 years, Joey is now focused on helping physical educators grow their confidence and competence as teachers.

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