Teacher of the Year Daniel Rigby 2017

As a special education teacher it was my belief that every student could learn. It was my job as an educator to tap into their interests and prior knowledge to access their learning styles. Now as a physical education teacher I carry the same philosophy. Health and Wellness is not a one size fits all system. Each student has different needs and different interest and it is my job as an educator to reach those students. I come in every day with an extremely positive attitude, participate in activities and constantly reinforce positive effort. Through these techniques, it is my hope that my students come to class every day eager and excited to participate in the class.

Having a background in special education has given me such a unique perspective in student learning and different teaching methods. I constantly allow myself to step back from my prior knowledge of an activity and remind myself that all students might not have knowledge of this activity or sport. It is my job to hook them from lesson one. In my experience if I can generate interest on lesson number 1 of a unit then I win the student for the entire unit. I use stories and other methods to have the students make connections to the activity and be default give them a basic understanding of the activity. Example, I know most students at some point have seen either a sibling, friend or even just a movie with little kids chasing a soccer ball in a mob format. I start our soccer lesson off demonstrating that and talking about funny things associated with those little kids chasing the ball. That’s the example of what we don’t want. Then we show a clip of a World Cup soccer game. Using story telling, humor, and technology all of the students gain a better understanding of what is expected and can access prior knowledge in a fun manner.

We structure our class units in 2 week blocks. During that time the first 2-3 days are “Drill and Skill” days. Following mastery of necessary skills we begin small sided technique games and eventually build to large official games. The culminating day typical entails a class championship of that sport or activity. Each class champ then participates in a school wide championship against the other class champions. Each week in an effort to break up the unit we also have a fitness day that encourages students to work on their current level of fitness.

I am always looking for ways to grow as a newer Physical Education teacher. Good teaching is good teaching regardless of the subject area though. I am constantly working with my colleagues in an effort to plan better lessons, increase engagement, and increase students level of understanding and physical fitness levels. I take teaching very personally and make it a challenge each day to make sure we maximize our learning opportunities in class.

The Delaware State PE standards are clearly the guiding principles for all of our lessons in PE. We are constantly working on motor skills and movement patterns through our activities. We work on physical behavioral change and the students are responsible for goal setting and planning ways to increase their level of fitness as demonstrated on the fitnessgram.

I am new to Shape Delaware, but plan on becoming involved in many of the activities.

Since starting Physical Education at CRHS, my colleague and I have completely changed the face of PE in our school. We spend a significant time focusing on showing the students fitness opportunities in our local community. Through partnerships with local businesses we have been able to bring in a Karate, Yoga, Crossfit, and Zumba instructors all from the local community to give our students an intro into their programs. We also have been able to have the state champion disc golf competitor and local rugby organization come in to put on seminars about their respective sports, and provide information about local opportunities for their program. Finally during the first day of each sport unit, we bring in the head coach of our High School team or local colleges to introduce students to the sport in a fun and energetic manner. All of these initiatives have increased our students knowledge and accessibility to fitness programs in the local community.

I am the head Wrestling Coach at CRHS. I also run our youth wrestling program which includes over 100 wrestlers from K-8. I am our Blue/Gold Coordinator as well as Special Olympics Coordinator. Last year our wrestling team brought over 35 wrestlers to the Polar Bear Plunge and raised over $2,500 for Special Olympics Delaware.