Almost one in three children in the United States is overweight or obese, according to Let’s Move, a nationwide initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama. If childhood obesity is not tackled by health experts, educators and local communities, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes and heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma. Physical education teachers can help fight against this epidemic by promoting healthy habits among children and youth.
Teaching Physical Activity
Teaching physical activities to students has numerous advantages. Physical education teachers can make significant contributions in the effort to combat childhood obesity by promoting physical activity and educating children and youth on the benefits of staying physically active. Physical education teachers motivate their students to participate in various types of activities. They also teach their students proper nutrition and lifestyle strategies that prevent obesity. Physical educators can specialize in exercise physiology, sport management and coaching. With advanced experience they can also become principals and administrators.
Physical activity is an important aspect of building a healthy lifestyle. Seeing students succeed physically is one of the most rewarding benefits of being a physical education instructor. Physical education teachers must devote a substantial portion of their time teaching students how to perform various types of physical activities such as in-line skating, rock climbing, tennis and running. Seeing students excel at these tasks gradually reinforces the commitment of teaching physical activities to students and demonstrates the benefits of staying physically fit.
As mentors, physical education teachers play an important role in motivating their students to excel both academically and in their personal lives. Physical education teachers must present a positive self image and be disciplined. Physical activity has a positive influence on students’ academic performance, according to a study by the University of Central Florida. The study shows that physical education helps build student self esteem and behavior. Due to the numerous positive links between physical activity and education, physical education teachers contribute to student learning and their overall health.
Physical education teachers spend most of their workday on their feet. They must also participate in physical activities, which keep them strong and fit. In addition to the benefit of seeing students succeed, being around children and receiving "a thank you," hugs or Christmas cards from students, parents and community members can be highly rewarding. Due to the growing demand for health and fitness training, and with advanced course work, physical education teachers also have the option of exploring other career alternatives in sports science fields, leisure studies, personal training and health promotion.
Selam Nuri has been writing academic articles and working across the curriculum since 2001. She has been published online at various websites and earned her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology in 2006 from the City University of New York.