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5 Characteristics of a Physical Education Teacher

Physical Education Teacher: 5 Common Characteristics

  • Enthusiasm
  • Broad Knowledge Base
  • Patience
  • Advocacy
  • Communication

Great gym teachers all have one thing in common: they possess the key characteristics of a physical education teacher. Why? PE is a demanding job, both physically and mentally. By developing the traits that lead to success, it’s easier to find job satisfaction and security.

1. Enthusiasm

Physical education teachers deal with students from all types of backgrounds. While the athletes in the class might be excited to get in a workout or try a new sport, the non-athletic kids might be scared or apathetic. That’s why enthusiasm is one of the most crucial characteristics of a PE teacher. They must be able to be excited and positive about the activity at hand, even when students are bored, nervous, or unwilling to participate. A great attitude ensures that everyone feels capable and included; it can go a long way toward creating a positive experience around exercise and health in general.

2. Broad Knowledge Base

Over a semester, a physical education teacher might cover 10 or more sports and activities. What’s more, they must do so in a way that keeps students safe and injury-free. Teachers who have a broad base of knowledge are more likely to succeed. It’s helpful to have a working knowledge about the rules of each sport, proper form, safety gear, modifications, and more. Expert PE teachers may also find it easier to answer questions and figure out new ways to help kids connect to each activity.

3. Patience

For the teacher, gym class comes with inevitable challenges. Some students might refuse to play; others might continually forget the rules of the game. Kids who aren’t used to exercise might act out when forced to be active. Dealing with all of these situations requires a great deal of tolerance and restraint on the part of the teacher. Whether they’re explaining the rules for the tenth time or trying to get a student off of the sidelines, patience is a key physical education teacher characteristic.

4. Advocacy

When schools feel the strain of budget cuts, physical education classes are often on the chopping block. That’s why advocacy is one of the key characteristics of a phys ed teacher. More than once in their career, a PE teacher may need to fight to keep gym classes in schools. This might mean staying up to date on the latest scientific reports, such as one from Forbes that links physical activity to better academic performance. It might also require speaking at board meetings, working with other teachers, and educating local parents.

5. Communication

At the end of the day, teaching physical activity is all about communication. Great teachers know how to talk to different groups of students; they can modify their teaching style to suit varying ages and skill levels. More importantly, these teachers must be able to discuss rules and safety procedures in a way that’s concise and easy to understand. Outside of the classroom, PE teachers should be able to handle professional communication during salary negotiations, union meetings, staff gatherings, parent conferences, and other high-level events.

Related Resources: 20 Affordable Master’s in Physical Education

A career in PE is one way to have a positive impact on the health and well-being of students. To increase the chances of success, it’s a good idea to develop these key characteristics of a physical education teacher. They make you a more attractive candidate and an effective teacher.