Teaching in a rural school district with a staff of 7 health and physical education teachers, it is not often, if ever, that we receive any content-specific professional development. While I understand the importance of reading and math training, I also understand the importance of health and PE professional development. Realizing that my staff doesn’t have these opportunities, I started searching for PE professional development classes and opportunities that we can either attend or create for ourselves.
Below are my recommended physical education and health professional development opportunities you should be checking out!
1. National SHAPE America Convention & Expo
I think the most obvious, yet most likely not feasible, opportunity for all health and physical education teachers would be to attend the National SHAPE America Convention every year. If you have never been to this convention, I strongly encourage you to get to one at some point during your career! This year’s convention was in Minneapolis, MN last week and next year’s convention will be in Boston, MA in March!
2. State SHAPE Convention
My next suggestion would be attending your state SHAPE America convention. This is another great opportunity to gather information and ideas to help strengthen your own program. This convention is also a great opportunity to network with other health and physical education teachers in your state and potentially set up a site visit to see what those teachers are doing in their schools. Check your state association’s website for dates and location of your state convention.
The following suggestions are also excellent opportunities and in most cases are free! Who doesn’t love FREE?
Webinars are everywhere and offer fantastic information in 1-3 hour sessions while covering a wide variety of topics. SHAPE America puts out great webinar opportunities, as do most state associations. Gopher has also been hosting some fantastic webinars with a variety of topics, and again they are free with the added bonus of having the opportunity to win free equipment! One of my favorite things about webinars is that I can be sitting in the comfort of my own home and still getting fantastic professional development.
4. Email, Newsletters, and Social Media
I also love getting emails from SHAPE America with articles about what other health and physical education teachers are doing around the country. While this might not appear to be professional development, it is an excellent way to get fresh ideas. I have taken several ideas from these emails and implemented them into my teaching and program with great success. Health and Physical Education Journals are another excellent source of information and ideas!
5. In-House Professional Development
In-house professional development is another option. It will take some planning on your part and support from your administration. I suggest examining your program from all grade levels and determining what areas are in need of ideas for improvement and then networking with other schools to determine if someone local is doing something in their program that fits your needs. I can’t imagine a teacher not willing to share ideas with other educators in an effort to help students at another school.
This might cost your district a small amount of money to cover travel expenses. But in my eyes if it helps build a stronger program and you can justify the need, it will be hard for your administration to turn this down. And if you can’t bring someone in to provide professional development, take the opportunity to be a leader in your own department and research and develop a topic that you can present to your fellow teachers.
Be creative and persistent in your wanting to have meaningful professional development at your school. I have been trying to organize and implement a professional development day for health and physical education at my school for a couple years. My goal has been to bring in several presenters that I have personally seen in action to my school and have them provide ideas and information to any health and physical education teachers who would like to attend. Thankfully, in getting to know many fantastic people at Gopher and working with them, this is finally going to happen. Gopher has been in three states already doing professional development days with great success and this August they are coming to Central Pennsylvania and I couldn’t be happier! This day is going to be filled with excellent professional development and I encourage anyone that wants to attend to reach out to me, and I will get the information to you.