We, the primary school PE providers are, by nature, an understanding lot.
Over the years we have come to understand the workings of your school and the pressure that every one of you is under on a day to day basis.
We understand that PE is probably not your number one priority right now. You have SATs, OFSTED, interventions, school trips, plays, observations, marking, planning, policies, assessing, displays, meetings, playground duty, after school clubs, more meetings, twilights, inset, phone calls, emails, more planning, more marking, reflective marking, peer assessment, peer pressure, guided reading, individual reading, homework, IT issues, colleague issues, child protection issues,senior management problems, registration and frustration. We understand, we really do. Some of us were teachers once too.
We do what we do because we are a passionate bunch. We love PE and sport and believe it’s the right of every child in your school to receive at least one good PE lesson a week. We know sometimes it can be hard for you to fit it in. (see paragraph above for more info),
But with our passion comes politeness. We don’t want to rock the boat. You pay us to deliver not question. But sometimes you do things that annoy us. You will never know we are annoyed, we will never let our body language, or general demeanour let you know we are annoyed, but I guarantee we will be. Please understand, this secret mild seething is a default setting programmed into every PE and school sports coach. It happens when the seemingly innocent actions of primary schools stop us from effectively sharing our love of PE and sport with your kids.
Here are the top 5 things Primary Schools do that annoy their PE providers (but the providers are too polite to complain about)
Interventions during a PE lesson:- We know that a lot of children require extra support, one on one or small group interventions. But please if this is the only time we have with them; let them stay and enjoy (which is all too often) the only PE lesson they have all week.
No TAs in PE lessons:- Sometimes classes are brilliant from the off and are able to work in small groups and pairs without any fuss. But every class has different dynamics. That includes children with challenging behaviour and other special educational needs. TAs help with the smooth running of the lesson and just like Literacy and Numeracy can be included in the planning of lessons and can be effectively used for differentiation and assessment.
NB: A teaching assistant that sticks, laminates or listens to readers during a PE lesson is tantamount to not being there at all. It also gives the wrong impression to the children taking part. The children need to see you getting involved and enjoying the lesson. If staff in the lesson aren’t showing any enthusiasm why should they?
Sending the children out one by one:- Picture this, you’re ready to start your mental starter in Numeracy. It’s well planned, challenging and differentiated to the nth degree. You look up and there are 5 kids in your class. Should you start? May as well, it’s getting late. Just as you start 6 more kids come bursting in, and ask what they’re supposed to do. Just as you are explaining to them, 10 more come bounding out. The process starts all over again. Now imagine this every lesson. You get the picture. If you need help with getting children dressed, just ask. If not, bring the class out as one so your coach can effectively explain the lesson and get started. Just like you would like your lesson to start.
Oh didn’t anyone tell you?:- This strikes fear into the heart of every well organised coach. Hall out of use? please let us know in advance. Good coaches are brilliant at thinking on their feet but a PE lesson is not as easily transferable as you might think. If you’ve asked us to do a unit of gymnastics or dance we are going to need the hall to do it effectively. Once in a while is OK, but every other week will affect your children’s learning. Think of the hall as our classroom. We need it like you need yours.
The state of the PE cupboard isn’t always our fault:- OK sometimes we may not put stuff back in exactly the same place as we found it. But any coach worth their salt wouldn’t just throw stuff willy nilly through the door resulting in a lethal game of kerplunk every time we need to get the cricket bats out. If you ask us nicely we’ll tidy it up for you. But please remind your colleagues to keep it tidy too.