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What Does a Gym Teacher Do?

A gymnasium used for physical education.
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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 August 2014
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A gym teacher primarily focuses on instructing students in both general and specific knowledge regarding fitness, health, athletics, and various sporting activities. This usually includes the creation of lesson plans, unit plans, daily instruction in a gymnasium or athletic field, performing tests and evaluations of fitness and athletic ability, and ensuring that the state requirements for physical education are being met. A gym teacher can also often teach another subject within a school and may be asked to help coach a school athletic team or organize other types of events related to the school at which he or she teaches.

Gym teachers, sometimes called physical education (PE) teachers, are involved in physical education, dealing with health, fitness, sports, and athletics. Most schools within numerous countries require fitness and health education as part of their curriculum, and gym teachers are typically involved in these types of instruction. This can range from supervising and instructing students on how to play different types of athletic games, teaching lessons on health and good eating habits, and helping with coaching sports teams.

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Usually, gym teachers will design unit plans and lesson plans that satisfy the requirements of states or regions regarding what students must be taught. This can include focusing on certain types of sports or athletic abilities, as well as lessons on nutrition, healthy eating, and even safe sexual practices. A gym teacher will often also oversee testing to ensure that certain material has been learned and to evaluate the physical condition and athleticism of students.

Depending on the country and region in which one teaches, a gym teacher may also need to be certified to teach another subject as well, such as English or mathematics. Even in areas where this is not required, many gym teachers prefer to have a secondary area of expertise to have more opportunities for employment. This can be especially helpful in areas where athletic instruction is not as prevalent or in schools that have only minor or very basic physical education needs.

A gym teacher will typically have the same educational requirements as any other type of teacher, usually involving a degree earned at a college or university and certification required to teach in a state, province, or other region. In the United States, for example, a gym teacher will usually need a four-year degree in a field such as athletic training or physical education. This is typically a Bachelor’s of Science and includes a full semester or more of educational coursework as well.

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