Why are physical education teachers still so reluctant to teach physical education?
Physically-acclaimed teachers of the future will teach physical-education subjects like aerobics, weightlifting and even martial arts, a new survey suggests.
And many of the more popular subjects like karate, judo and handball are still underrepresented, despite being highly sought-after.
The survey, which was released Monday by the National Council of Teachers of Physical Education, looked at more than 50,000 teachers from around the country and found teachers are reluctant to train in physical education.
Many teachers feel the field is being oversaturated and that there are too few students pursuing advanced physical education degrees, said Sarah Fuchs, the organization’s executive director.
Fuchs also said physical education is underrepresented in the workforce because many employers do not offer full-time opportunities.
Fuss said it’s not clear why teachers are hesitant to teach the subjects.
They’re afraid they’ll lose their jobs, she said.
Fusselman’s survey of teachers was conducted by the nonprofit National Association of Physical Educators.
The group is funded by the American Association of Colleges of Education, and its executive director, Dr. John Hales, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Fucus said there is a growing body of research showing that physical education courses do a lot for students’ health and development.
They lead to a better understanding of the body and their own bodies, she added.
Physical education classes help kids develop more self-awareness and social skills.
Fuses said physical educators can teach more about physical activity and their body.
The report said physical-arts classes are becoming more popular.
In the 1980s, the majority of teachers didn’t even think physical education was relevant.
Today, nearly a quarter of teachers say they teach physical arts and physical education classes, Fuchs said.
Physical-education instructors teach the students how to move, stand and do other activities that help them learn to be healthy.
The study also said that while physical education and health care is a high priority in the U.S., many teachers don’t feel they have the skills or knowledge to teach both.
The majority of the survey’s respondents said they were not currently teaching physical education majors because they feel they’re too busy, Fuss and Fuchs noted.
They said some teachers are afraid of getting fired if they quit, or being reprimanded if they do not complete their classes.
A few respondents, however, said they feel physical education could be a career for them in the future.
Fuse said the survey also found physical education instructors are not always able to keep up with the needs of students.
In some cases, physical education subjects are just not taught enough.
Fust’s report also said it was surprising that some physical education professors and teachers did not feel comfortable sharing their experiences.
“I’m not saying this is a problem, but there’s a sense of shame around it,” Fuchs told The Associated Press.
She said some physical-ed teachers may be reluctant to speak out because they are afraid their careers will be jeopardized if they share their concerns.
“We need to be a little bit more vocal in our advocacy to get physical education taught properly,” Fuss told the AP.
“It’s not just that people are reluctant, it’s a lack of knowledge, lack of understanding.”
The survey was released as the AP reported that the number of U.N. schoolchildren undernourished has more than doubled in the past 15 years.
More than 1.5 million children undernurtured in the United States were in need of urgent medical care in 2015, according to the United Nations.