How PE Teachers Can Self-Assess Their School Year

by SPARK


a physical education teacher smiles at the camera with his students playing in the background

The end of the school year is the perfect time to reflect on how the past ten months played out. While the summer vacation may be beckoning, take on one final exercise and do a self-assessment of your PE class performance. Self-assessment is a crucial part of self-guided professional development, and offers the opportunity to identify your strengths as well as areas where you could improve.

Self-assessment at the end of the school year leaves you with a couple of months to work on improvements and think about the new tools and games you may want to test out in the fall. By the time September comes around, you’ll be reinvigorated and brimming with fresh ideas for your class.

Where Do I Begin?

We know what you’re thinking: assessing yourself is easier said than done. Successful self-reflection hinges on asking the right questions, so here are a few probing questions to get you started:

What Were My Successes This Past School Year?

Self-assessments are not an opportunity to be hard on yourself. Whether it’s being proud that you made your PE class more inclusive, or the fact that you had a 100% class participation rate during a dance lesson, it’s important to reflect on the things that went well. After all, you’ll want to keep up the good work in future years! Take some time to document your successes, as fellow PE colleagues may appreciate hearing what worked.

What Were Some of My Lowest Points This Year?

Self-assessments are also an opportunity to be honest about the challenges you faced. No matter our profession, we all have moments we’re not proud of. Determining your lowest points may be a sobering experience, but calling out these challenges by name is one way to ensure they don’t happen again.

In What Areas Did I Improve the Most and How?

Teaching is about professional growth. Did you set a list of goals at the start of the school year? Or go into the gymnasium really wanting to target a certain area of your teaching? Think about the areas where you grew this past year and then determine exactly how you did it. Answering the “how” of this question will provide guidance for continued future success.

In Which Activity Do I Have the Greatest Challenge Engaging Students?

A successful PE class relies on class participation. This is an important question that can lead you to adapt the way you present exercises and the manner in which you interact with your students. There could be a number of factors causing a lack of participation — perhaps your activities simply don’t resonate with your students. Often, though, you’ll find an answer which can be more easily remedied in the new school year, such as adding more or less team sports or including more adaptive equipment into your lessons.

Turning Reflection into Action

After reflection, the next step is to take what you have learned and apply those lessons to your PE class. Spend part of the summer brainstorming what goals you’d like to achieve the following school year. Some of them may take specialized training or resources, and reflecting in June will mean you have extra time to complete that work.

Another method to keep working towards your goals is to share your reflections with another PE colleague. Talking through what you’ve found out in your self-assessment is a good way to compare notes and exchange ideas. What’s more, you’ll likely be motivated to stay on track if you know you have someone who can hold you to account.

If this is your first year doing a self-assessment, don’t worry. The more you do, the more natural self-reflection becomes. Keep the notes from all your self-assessments and you’ll be left with a detailed log of progress you can look back at over time.

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