It is difficult to visualize exactly what a gym class looks like during a pandemic. At Gladstone Secondary, Physical Education (PE) teacher Haley Thomas is choosing more individualized athletics for her students.
Prior to the pandemic, a normal PE class for Thomas would have a mix of different sports that encourage student engagement. As an alternative, Thomas is shifting towards contactless sports that use minimal equipment – like yoga, soccer drills or fitness conditioning in the gym.
PE classes at Gladstone Secondary would usually range between 25 to 30 students. Class sizes are now reduced to 15 students maximum, and Thomas teaches half of her students in the morning and the other half in the afternoon.
“I find myself being able to give each individual student more direct attention now that my classes are much smaller,” says Thomas. “This has been very beneficial, especially in my fitness conditioning classes,” she adds.
“I can personalize each student’s learning based on their fitness level and where they currently are at in the class,” says Thomas. “We cannot do our normal bigger group activities, so we have had to adapt our lesson plans to target smaller numbers of students.”
Not only has Thomas adjusted her lesson plans, Gladstone Secondary’s entire PE department has implemented strict health and safety protocols. Students are required to wash their hands before and after class, all equipment gets thoroughly cleaned and classes are usually taken outside when the weather permits.
Regardless of the limitations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Thomas says she is excited to be interacting with her students again and shares that her students are happy to stay active in a safe way.