What Goes On When You Aren’t In P.E.

Behind the Scenes with Ms. Stile


(Photos by Vicky Lam)

Vicky Lam, Staff Writer

Most students have taken PE at one point or another in their years at Falls Church.  People remember the sports and the competitions but do they really know how teachers decide what to do or how they feel?

Ms. Stile is one of the freshmen PE teachers. When asked about the process of how teachers plan PE classes and decide what to teach, she says that the PE department meets as a Collaborative Learning Team, CLT for short, to plan what units are going to be taught during the quarter. For example, badminton and volleyball are usually team taught because they typically require sharing the gym. For the most part which units are taught comes down to teacher preference and spacing. Certain sports have to be taught indoors due to weather and equipment constraints.

However, they don’t necessarily get to teach anything they want. The department follows a curriculum that recently got updated this year and any activities taught must be approved by the county.  For example, Ms. Stile says, “I would love to teach football and floor hockey, but unfortunately they are not allowed.”

Even though the ninth- and tenth-grade sports are different, units like soccer and basketball are student favorites so they are available both years. Of course, it’s not hard to tell what the student favorites are but how do you think the teacher feels?

Ms. Stile says that she enjoys the dancing unit the most, which isn’t necessarily ballroom or square dancing but somewhere in between. “I want to push students to be the best they can so they surprise themselves at what they’re able to achieve,” she said.  Ms. Stile also noted that too few students are getting enough exercise.  Although needed to assess student learning, she wishes there were fewer written assignments in order to maximize time spent exercising.

When asked if there was anything that she did not enjoy, she mentioned that teaching CPR was not one of her favorites.  However, CPR is another key skill that everyone should know to potentially save a life, but testing can be labor intensive and repetitive to test.

As some people may know, Ms. Stile used to teach math, it’s actually what she originally went to school for, but some wonder why she became a Phys Ed teacher. “Wellness and physical fitness have always been a passion of mine.”  Incorporating movement into a regular classroom was very important, but more difficult than in a PE setting.  Switching to PE, where the movement was integral, felt like a natural fit for her.

So even if the current unit you’re working on PE isn’t your favorite, don’t feel bad, because the PE teacher might feel the same way that you do.  The important thing is to just complete the unit properly and move on and enjoy the parts of PE that you like best!