Trainer Spotlight: Andrew Cherry
His story: Recently named the Kansas Elementary PE Teacher of the Year, Andrew Cherry reflects on what makes being a physical educator so unique, the strong community of Kanas physical educators, and how becoming a Presidential Youth Fitness Program trainer has motivated him to continue to improve his practice.
Q: In one sentence, how would you summarize the value of physical education for students today?
Our students need movement in their lives and we as physical educators provide an opportunity for our students to get up, get out of their classrooms and houses, and use their energy for good healthy activity.
Q: If someone is thinking about applying to become a Presidential Youth Fitness Program (PYFP) Trainer, what would you say to them?
I think anyone who is interested in being a trainer should pursue it. Going to the trainings has given me the opportunity to give others ideas on how to teach fitness education in their classrooms. It is a great way to get connected to people in the Presidential Youth Fitness Program network, as well as meet other teachers around your state.
Q: How has becoming a certified PYFP trainer contributed to your own professional
I have learned so much about teaching fitness education and how to get my students excited about their own physical fitness. Becoming a trainer has led me to reflect on how I have been teaching fitness education and has motivated me to develop ways to improve my program. I have incorporated practice tasks, breakdown of fitness data, and goal setting to improve my students fitness scores. Fitness education is a piece to my program that I hope to continually improve.
Q: What are three aspects of the PYFP trainings you have conducted that have been the most helpful to participants?
I think the biggest takeaways that people get from the trainings are practices that they can use in their lessons without having to change a whole lot of what they currently do. For example, they learn to incorporate practice fitness tests into their classroom by understanding the details of each fitness test to make sure their tests are valid and accurate. They also gain ideas on how to implement goal setting once they have assessed and recorded their scores. All of these aspects I think are highlights of the training for participants.
Q: You recently conducted a training at the annual Kansas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (KAHPERD) Convention. What was unique about leading this training and what did you take away from this particular experience?
This was a great experience to be able to help run a training at the KAHPERD convention. This was part of the pre-convention so attendees were there a day early and spent their time with us learning how to incorporate the Presidential Youth Fitness Program into their schools. These are teachers from all across the state of Kansas teaching at all different sizes of schools. I love those kind of presentations because although everyone is coming from different backgrounds, everyone is looking to increase their fitness education programs. They are all looking for answers and ideas that they can bring back to their schools. My favorite thing about leading this kind of training is answering questions about the program and then watching them connect the dots to understanding how they can adapt their own practices to make it work. One thing I took away from the training was that there are so many great PE teachers in the state of Kansas. They are always trying to improve and look for ways to help their students. I feel like physical education is in a good spot in our state and I am proud to be able to represent them.
Q: At the KAHPERD Convention, you were also named the Kansas Elementary PE Teacher of the Year! What have been some of your favorite moments as a physical educator and what continues to motivate you inside & outside of the classroom?
It is truly an honor to be named Elementary Teacher of the Year for the state of Kansas. I have always wanted to be a PE teacher and I have enjoyed every day getting to do what I do. I think the most enjoyable part of my job are the relationships that I have with my students. I am able to by silly and goofy and get to have fun with them every day. I also get to hear parents tell me about how their kids come home and practice their skills "the way Mr. Cherry taught us." When my kids come into PE excited about the opportunity to play, and then leave with red sweaty faces, I feel like I am doing my job. Some days are hard to get excited about certain classes and then when the kids walk through the door, I am able to turn it on and get going. I have always felt like I have had a connection to kids and when my students are coming to me everyday excited about physical education, there is nothing that I won't do for them to get them to learn. Getting involved in outside activities also helps me stay on top of my game as a PE teacher. Going to conferences, attending meetings and being a part of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program training network has helped me grow as a professional and improve my program. Teaching PE will continue to be a passion for mine for the rest of my career.
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