Today we get to hear from a current Physical Education Teaching/Coaching (PETE) student and one of our very own McKay School ambassadors, Terrika Nelson. Terrika just finished her first year in the program and hopes to teach physical education in middle school when she graduates.
When asked why she wanted to become a teacher, she explains that "you can see the impact you’re having when you’re working. You’re working, but you’re also doing something and changing someone’s life." As a huge fitness advocate she says "I think it’s super awesome that by teaching PE you can teach people the importance of having a physically active life. And especially when they’re young. It’s important to teach kids things they need to know when they're really young."
Terrika shared with us the impact teachers she knows teachers have. She explains that "there are lots of teachers in my life that were the example that I needed in certain things: in academics, in sports, in certain circumstances, and so I think the way we live and the way we are can actually change a kid’s life." When asked what impact she hopes to have on her students, she said "I think we are able to be the example, or one of the big examples in their lives, especially the kids that need something like that. So, I think it’s really important, the way we live our lives so that they can see our example. I think there are certain students that you’re supposed to be there for."
"The way we live and the way we are can actually change a kid's life."
Although Terrika is excited to become an educator, she, like many others, has faced the negative stereotypes that follow the teaching profession. When asked how she's responded to the negative criticism on salary she said "I think it just goes back to the reason you’re doing it. I think people are getting paid more, and people are realizing the impact that teachers have. But I think we need to realize that we aren’t only working for the money, we’re working for something we feel like is important."
Many people have criticized the PETE major, claiming that it's very easy and doesn't require a lot of work, but Terrika explains that their major uses more hands-on learning so that they can be hands-on in the gym. She says "once people realize the reason behind what we do, they can understand more, so I think it’s usually just explaining to people why we do what we do, and why we’re learning the way that we learn."
To someone considering PETE, Terrika says "we have a super good time and everyone is passionate about what they’re doing, and very passionate about exercise and sports! We all kind of have the same goals, so if that’s something you can relate with, you’ll love it no matter what!" She also explains how the program does an excellent job of giving you opportunities to work with the students each semester. She says that " if they can see how much fun it is, most people would like it!"
"By teaching P.E. you can teach people the importance of living physically active lives!"