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Begin the year effectively with these preparations

This is an excerpt from Survive and Thrive as a Physical Educator by Alisa James.

One Month Before School Begins

You should begin getting ready for the school year about one month in advance of the start of the year. One month will provide ample time for you to complete the tasks that will enable you to begin the school year effectively. One of the first things you should do is learn your daily schedule and post it in your office. In addition, you should inspect the equipment and facilities that are available for physical education, taking an inventory of the equipment. Resource 2.3 is a sample form that can be used to record your equipment inventory.

Facilities and field spaces that are used for instruction should also be inspected. Inspect the gymnasium floor for areas in disrepair, and ensure that the lighting is adequate and that lights are secured to the ceiling. In addition, make sure that the walls of the gymnasium do not have anything protruding from them that a student can run into. Crash mats should cover the walls.

Indoor and outdoor spaces for teaching physical education vary greatly. Some schools may have ample indoor and outdoor space; however, other schools may have minimal facilities and may even lack outdoor space. Fields that are used for physical education should also be inspected. Fields should be free of debris and free of divots or holes that students may step into and injure themselves. Resource 2.4 is a tool you can use when inspecting indoor and outdoor facilities. Make sure you follow the proper procedures to have any necessary repairs done to equipment or facilities before the beginning of the school year.

Next, you should review the district's physical education curriculum guide. The curriculum guide should be provided at the time of hire. If not, make sure you ask for a copy. The curriculum guide provides a framework of the content that you are expected to teach at your school. You should ask questions about any aspect of the curriculum guide that is not clear. After reviewing the curriculum guide, you should develop a full-year plan for each grade level that you will be teaching. For example, if you are teaching in an elementary school that has grades three to five, the curriculum plan would include all the content units that you will teach at each of those grade levels. Creating a full-year plan will be discussed in detail in chapter 3. The curriculum plan should be kept in a plan book so that it is easily accessible when you are creating unit plans.