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Student Supervision in Physical Education Classes

Instructor: Loren Rozanski

Loren has a B.S. in History and a M.S. in Special Education. She works actively in the education field.

Student supervision in the Physical Education setting is especially important. This lesson looks at all aspects of providing proper supervision to students.

Supervising Students in the Physical Education Classroom

Mr. Smith is a high school Physical Education (P.E.) teacher. He has a class of about twenty students. Half of his class wants to play volleyball, and the other half of the class wants to use the weight room, which is a separate room off the gym. He allows them to go but is alarmed when he soon hears that a student has dropped a weight, injuring their foot. Mr. Smith thinks to himself that if he had been supervising all students, this accident might not have happened.

Mr. Smith's story is not unusual. PE teachers often have the responsibility of supervising multiple students in non-traditional settings, such as a large gym, weight room, or outdoor track or field. Physical Education classes also have more students and an element of risk of injury that is not present in other classrooms. Let's take a look at some things Mr. Smith should consider when supervising his classroom.

Classroom Management

Having a clear classroom management strategy is essential, especially in the PE setting. Creating a clear set of expectations and consequences for students to follow will ensure that your year goes smoothly. For example, if your students change for gym, let them know that they have an exact time, say ten minutes. At the end of that ten minutes, begin the lesson, whether your students are ready or not. Deduct points for those who come out after. This ensures two things: that your class starts on time, and that you can monitor students closely at all times. It will also discourage 'stragglers' from hanging out in the locker room.

Another piece of your classroom management strategy is having clear boundaries for your classroom. While you may be in a non-traditional setting, such as a football field, it is important to have a set of rules similar to a traditional classroom. For example, you may ask that your students notify you each time they need to go to the water fountain, even though they are not physically leaving a classroom. This will enable you to keep tabs on your students and know where they are at all times.

Participating in the class with your students will help you to monitor students as they learn.
students, gym class

Holding Students Accountable

If possible, have your students take accountability in the classroom. You may choose a student to lead the class and run the daily warm-up or have your students keep track of how many laps they walk. This will allow you to spend time actively monitoring students. Students will be able to take ownership of their time in PE class, and you will have fewer distractions in the classroom.

You may need to hold students accountable in terms of discipline as well. Inevitably, students will break the rules that you set for your classroom. It is important to have fair consequences for students behaviors, which may change depending on the grades you teach. For example, you may have an elementary school student sit out of an activity, while a high school student may have to write a reflection essay on what happened and how they would change their behaviors.

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