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Tips for Working as a PE Department Team

Working Together as a PE Department Team

Episode Transcript:

I want to reflect with you today on some top tips for working together as a physical education department team.

Commit to a Positive Mindset

It really is a privilege to collaborate with others and when it comes to working within your department team, whether it’s at the building level or the district level, there are several key tips to keep in mind. First, each individual on the team needs to commit to having a positive mindset and the team as a whole needs to commit to maintaining a positive department culture. One thing that I always like to keep at the forefront for me is presumed positive intent. We can’t take things the wrong way. We need to be able to work through any miscommunications and conflict and presume that positive intent. This is especially true in email. We cannot always understand someone’s body language and tone in an email.

Be a Solution Finder

Next, we also have to limit complaining. We have to be solutions finders and focus on the things that we can control. We also have to embrace each other’s strengths. We have to be willing to learn from one another. One person does not have to do it all or do it all alone and have to have all the skills. That’s why you have a department team. Each person brings their strengths to the table and embracing these strengths and learning from one another will really help your department team grow. So be willing to ask for support in your areas of improvement and be willing to provide support to others.

Have your Team’s Back

Also, remember to have your team’s back. We need to support each other. We are a team! So whether it comes to the different busy seasons that people have, whether they’re coaching or on different committees, how can you help support them? What do they need a helping hand with? If they’re going to be gone one day, how can you help get their sub set up for success? How can we check in with each other and lend a helping hand? Also we need to act like a team, so not only do we need to have our team’s back, but we act like a team by collaborating often we check in with each other, we tell each other what’s going well, not so well either in our classes or as a program. What equipment is needed? So meeting whether it’s small, short, 15-minute meetings once a week, once every two weeks or if you have common collaboration time, you’re checking in on that program vision. Are we going in the direction that we want to want to go? And then also it’s like any good parenting plan when you’re all on the same page as a staff, then the students see that too and they can respect that and they know that you’re all there working together. You have common expectations for behavior of the students and common expectations for grading and assessment and each teacher has their own style for implementing these common expectations.

Be Willing to Try New Things

Another best for our PE teams is to be willing to try new things. We can always learn something new, whether it’s one person trying a new idea, two people trying a new idea together and then reporting their results back to the team to ask for feedback on how it went. Either way, it’s important that when someone wants to try out a new idea, you support them in that.

Have fun!

And lastly, remember to have fun as a department team. Enjoy each other’s company. Celebrate your successes. No matter how big or small as a department, give each other high fives, maybe even dress up for the school spirit days together every once in a while. Remember, a person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected. So when thinking about this in terms of your department, a department that shows appreciation for each other, will always be able to do more and this will help ensure an enjoyable work experience.


  • Jessica Shawley

    Jessica is a Health & Physical Education Teacher in Lewiston, Idaho. She is a SHAPE America National Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year and a National Board Certified Teacher. Jessica is a part of SHAPE America's Physical Education Council and has also served SHAPE Idaho & the Northwest District in several leadership capacities. Her professional engagement also includes providing professional development workshops, writing blogs and podcasting. Jessica is currently teaching high school health and physical education, leading fitness, dance, yoga and weight training classes.

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