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Suzanne Speed: Physical Education
While Social Distancing

The current pandemic has changed how students learn. At first, students and teachers had to move to remote-live instruction. This means that students no longer attended school in person. So, when one thinks of attending class with those circumstances, they imagine a teacher teaching via Zoom while the student takes notes and participates. For most classes, that visualization is true. Yet, for classes like physical education, student participation is quite different.

“Physical education while social distancing” is the 74th episode of Charter School Superstars. This episode features Suzanne Speed, a physical education teacher at Pinecrest Preparatory Academy Middle/High. At first, Suzanne Speed was asked about the difficulty of transitioning virtual teaching. Surprisingly, she said it was quite simple. During the first week of remote instruction (the week before spring break), she began using PowerPoints to teach her students. After spring break, Ms. Speed and Ms. Forte, a coworker, began an active approach to teaching PE. They showed students different exercises, how to maintain proper form, how to do yoga, etc. The class became much more adaptable as well. They encouraged students to create their own workout plans. This allowed students to stay active even if they did not have the recommended equipment.

Together, Ms. Speed and Ms. Forte encouraged students to exercise at least 5 days a week. The goal was not to keep the students busy. On the other hand, she emphasized how much more important it is to be active during the pandemic. The quarantine had kept students in their houses, so it was not beneficial to physical health. Besides, the drastic change in routine and being indoors for so long was bound to affect mental health. So, she motivated her students to do basic things like going out for a socially distant walk. The goal was to encourage students to be active and to help cope with any stress they had.

Suzanne Speed reiterates how important it is to look after one’s mental health. When asked what she wished would change in education now, she said she hoped testing was limited. She acknowledged that constant testing stresses students. Though she was referring to students, this lesson applies to everyone. Caring for one’s mental and physical health is crucial, especially nowadays. Bearing that in mind, physical education became more essential even though the pandemic changed how it was taught.

Learn more about physical education via remote-live instruction and its importance, by listening to episode 74 of Charter School Superstars.

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