Students speak out
Meet a UNH Physical Education Major!
Name: Matt Allen
Year in school: Senior, graduating 2014
Read More below...
Where are you from? Manchester NH
Do you play any sports or intramurals here? I play on the club Men's Ultimate team and I played in the wheelchair ultimate intramural tournament.
Why did you become a P.E. Major? Growing up, I was an awkward, uncoordinated, overweight boy. After I started getting into competitive ultimate, I was forced to learn how my body works, the mechanics of my own motion, and breaking it down to be efficient and powerful. In learning about it under my own volition over the last 6 years, I've come to love it and want to teach it to everyone. My life has completely changed since I began playing ultimate and becoming more physically educated.
Favorite physical education class here at UNH? My favorite class is a toss up between Adventure Activities and Team Sports. Team sports is great because you get to play games in a modified, simplistic setting with top end athletes from the school (since our major has attracted a wide variety of athletes from football, track, hockey, basketball, volleyball, among others). Adventure is amazing because it teaches you to challenge every one of your students under their own terms in a low pressure, low risk, yet highly challenging and emotionally expanding environment.
What is your favorite physical education memory from UNH? My favorite memory is from Team Sports, playing ultimate. I remember playing with Joe and he would just stand in open space, while the defense tried to form a wall to block your normal conventional throws (to which their minds were limited), and I would just throw the disc vertically or upside-down (what we call a “blade” and a “hammer”, respectively) right to him. Took people most of the class to adjust and play tight person-to-person defense. Really fun to watch the athletes adapt.
UNH physical education students work on high ropes courses during their Adventure Activities class this April
More Students Speak Out...
I recently attended the NHAHPERD conference held in Waterville Valley, NH. The conference provided valuable insight into the field of physical education. For me, the most rewarding experience at the conference was the attitude and commitment of all of the people in attendance. I find myself even more motivated to pursue a teaching career after seeing the level of enthusiasm and dedication that these professionals carry with them. Every session I went to was full of teachers who love what they do and show a passion for working with children. I hope to exhibit the same amount of confidence and dedication shown by these professionals as I continue on my teaching path.
It is difficult to think of a “least rewarding experience” from the conference. I felt that all of the sessions I went to held value and were worth being present for. One of the sessions I went to was called Activities in 3’s, held by Chip Candy. Candy took volunteers through a series of activities that could be done in groups of three. I took away from this lesson the idea that planning ahead can greatly decrease the amount of transition time within a class. Less transition time along with less time spent waiting in lines means more time for children to be physically active. I was also able to participate in the broad range of activities provided and gain some ideas for my own class. Another one of my favorite sessions was held by Jim Ross. The games and activities he showed us were ones that could accomplish psychomotor objectives, while addressing social and emotional aspects of learning as well. Jim Ross was a very friendly individual with a lot of experience to share.
I don’t think that the NHAHPERD conference changed the way I look at physical education, rather it strengthened my own values and beliefs through the wonderful people I was able to talk with and observe. I went to two sessions that involved dance. The instructors were very helpful and encouraging. Their use of progression will benefit my own lessons in dance, as I hope to include some of the approaches to teaching dance that they used.
If I were to discuss my attendance at the conference with a peer, I would have only good things to say. The conference was a great place to meet people in the physical education field, share experiences, and learn new skills. It also provided many teaching strategies and ideas for activities and games through the variety of sessions offered. Overall, the conference was a worthwhile experience that I would not hesitate to attend again in the future.
Katelyn Flanagan and Emily Powden
Hope all is well at UNH. Emily and I are thoroughly enjoying our semester abroad in Australia. We've done a lot of traveling so far... Sydney, Fiji, Brisbane and I am heading to the Great Barrier Reef this week and Bali the following month. It's been an amazing experience so far!!
Update from South Africa!
Things are going very well here and I feel as though my 5 years of teacher prep at UNH prepared me very well for this job. I am teaching middle school PE and have a teaching partner which is awesome to ease the transition from being an intern with a CT to just having an equal to teach every class with. We teach 5 sections over two days on a rotating schedule, meaning our schedule is pretty easy. We see the kids every other day for 80 minutes all year long so we are able to see them a lot and do a lot with them. Class sizes are bigger than what I'm used to since there are two of us teaching, but it works well. The behavior of the kids is outstanding - they are so good there are rarely any behavior management issues, which is great! Also, the facilities I have access to are wonderful; we have 3 outdoor basketball courts, 2 outdoor tennis courts, 3 soccer fields, an inground pool, gym, and climbing wall.
The biggest movement that is happening in the middle school is the move to standards-based grading, which has been a huge push for the school. For me, it has meant a lot of writing and re-writing of key learning outcomes for each grade as well as building K-12 goals and benchmarks. I am the youngest on the staff, which is annoying most of the time, but in this instance everyone is looking to me for the most up-to-date info on assessments and whatnot since I was the last one in college, which is neat. In writing our key learning outcomes I've had a chance to really implement my beliefs and philosophy of PE which has been really cool to see put in practice. I guess all those papers and assignments did have real purpose in our future careers :)
The only unfortunate thing about being here is there is no special needs population whatsoever at the school. Therefore, I haven't been able to implement any of my colloquium work or Unified Wellness stuff I did at DHS. But, I am looking into how to implement it in other ways.
Overall - I LOVE IT! People tell me I'll never go back to the States after teaching abroad, and I think they might be right. South Africa is great with a lot of opportunities to learn culture and travel and at this school in particular, grow and learn a lot in my career.
Hope the start of school has been good for you!
- Major Declaration