Teacher Review by Matt Shirk, Physical Education Teacher at Shortridge High School
During my ten plus years as a physical education teacher, one of the biggest challenges I always face is keeping my high school students motivated and excited about exercise. No matter how ‘cool’ or modern or inspiring I make my lessons there always seems to be a little bit of “I have to do this because Mr. Shirk told me to” vibe. Exercising because it is fun or because they want to improve their health seemed to be lacking in some of my lessons. So when Nine13sports approached me to become a part of my curriculum I was afraid that no matter how awesome I thought the idea was, my high school students would just go through the motions or think it was for ‘little kids.’ I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The past 4 years, I have been fortunate enough to have Nine13sports be a part of my curriculum. Getting to know the Nine13sports staff and being around their positive, friendly, upbeat attitude is breath of fresh air not only for myself, but for my students. They are extremely passionate about kids riding bikes but they are also very flexible, helpful, and most importantly in my opinion, independent. The first couple of lesson I would go with all of my students to watch them bike and right away I could see the joy and fun overcome them, but I also knew that I had other standards that needed to be covered.
Now I send students to the Nine13sports staff while I continue to teach the remaining students without a hick up in other parts of my curriculum. Once all the students have rotated between my class and the bikes, I can see the sweat and fatigue that unfortunately my own lessons don’t always invoke. I love how I can see competitive hunger from my students to either ride faster than their friends or to try and beat their own personal times. The math element is often over looked when people discuss exercise and Nine13sports, but there are plenty of interdisciplinary ideas at work. Whether calculating speed or distance or simply trying to beat your previous times, there are many ways you can get your students thinking cognitively about their performance.
I am also fortunate enough to teach adapted PE and having these students get the opportunity to ride with Nine13sports is one of my greatest joys. Now riding bikes is all they want to do! The Nine13sports staff is always trying new ways to adapted and help assist with my students’ needs and I am truly grateful for their professionalism, passion, and work ethic. I believe Nine13sports is a valuable asset to a school’s curriculum not only because it gets kids exercising, but also because you are exposing your students to the incredible staff that make Nine13sports.
Physical/Health Education Teacher
Shortridge IB High School