Tammy Gaudun’s Coaching Philosophy(written in November, 2009 and is still evolving)
The desire to be involved in sports and to coach was a big factor in my decision to become a teacher. I wanted to come home each day from work and feel that I’ve done something important – something with meaning, like improving a child’s self-esteem and building a brighter future for them. This is something I did not experience that in my previous career.
Originally, I thought that as a teacher, I would value effort above all else in phys-ed class. And while effort is hugely important, it does not reflect any sort of learning or development. You’re not doing the students any favours if you do not provide them with challenges in which they can improve and feel good about their efforts and their bodies. Realizing that you’re capable of so much more than you thought is empowering, and I want every one of my students to feel more empowered when they leave my class.
Goal setting and self-evaluation are two assessment strategies I believe in. At the start of each unit, I will encourage every student to pick at least one thing they’d like to accomplish by the end of the unit. They will also evaluate their own growth and performance. It will provide them with a sense of accomplishment, and it will provide me with information on how to differentiate my instruction to ensure each student is getting their needs met.
For evaluation, I believe there is so much more to sports than just the skills. Some students may not have the physical capabilities to be stars, but they may understand the strategy involved, so I also want to measure movement on the court, playmaking skills, and teamwork, and my evaluation tools will incorporate these skills.
- I have an easy-going, yet passionate personality. I create an unintimidating atmosphere, while providing strong leadership and encouragement.
- Safety is my first priority, both physically and emotionally.
- My class and I will act as a team, supporting, encouraging and helping one another.
- I hope to be remembered as the teacher who believed in the student who didn’t believe in him/herself. “if it weren’t for Ms. Gaudun, I would have never had the courage to…” or “I never would have realized I was good at….”
My own personal values for the classroom are outlined below:
Fun. Fitness. Skill. Self.
Fun. Too many students have traumatic memories of gym class. These are the students who constantly forget their gym clothes, are frequently tying their shoes, and regularly ask to get a drink of water: all to avoid participating in gym class. So how do you make gym class fun for 30 unique individuals? Variety. You can’t expect every student to like, or be good at every unit (but there will be some). By providing a variety of activities, which differ in skill and level of competitiveness, you can ensure to reach a greater percentage of students. For example, some of the students I saw cowering in dodge ball came alive in the swing dancing unit. In my physical education (phys-ed) class, the student’s interests are more important than my comfort zone and I will always strive to be as inclusive as possible.
Fitness. Phys-ed class may be the only opportunity a student has to exercise in a week. Many students do not even walk to school. In the age of convenience it is imperative that students go to gym class to exercise! So by providing fun activities that improves a student’s level of fitness (strength, endurance, flexibility, and agility), every student will be empowered with the skills to live a healthy life: now and into adulthood.
Skill: It’s a fact that most people don’t enjoy activities that they’re not good at. Only a handful of students will go on to play sports at a competitive level. For the rest of the students, I want them to have the basic skills and knowledge that will allow them to one day join their company slo-pitch team, or to sign-up a recreational volleyball team. All it takes is a little encouragement, helpful instruction, and an opportunity to play and grow for any child to improve. Ironically, it is the lack of an opportunity to play that is most difficult in gym class as skillful players often dominate game play. By implementing rules such as, “no scoring until everyone touches the ball,” will ensure that everyone gets their opportunity to play and improve. Even the “athletes” will improve their playmaking skills in the process. Win. Win.
Self. Phys-ed is about teamwork, relationships and self-awareness. In sports, students must be aware of how their actions affect those around them. The same is true in life. The reason that this subheading isn’t called team is because we can only be responsible for our own actions. Each student must set his/her own goals, and each student must find his/her own reasons to achieve them. Giving students time to reflect on their actions can be a powerful tool for improvement and growth. This is especially true for the Healthy Living unit, where I believe it’s important to teach students:
- You are okay just as you are. Losing weight, doing drugs, getting caught up in a relationship won’t change who you are. In fact, they will make it harder to see your authentic self. So love yourself first and you won’t need those things to be happy.
- Live a healthy life: eat well, exercise and stay clean. A healthy lifestyle is related to a healthy self-esteem.
- Knowledge is power. Only you can make the right decisions for yourself, so make sure you are informed about drugs, pregnancy, diseases, and a healthy lifestyle. But remember, we all make mistakes, so know who you can go to for support.
In conclusion, I believe that if phys-ed class is fun, provides fitness, develops skill and builds self-esteem and self-awareness, that I will be successful in helping students live healthier and happier lives.