Trainee Voice – Learning to Teach PE and English

A PE teacher working with a group of students

Teach PE with EBACC

PE and English both changed my life at school. Inspirational teachers that challenged me gave me a competitive drive to push on and always be the best, to throw myself into every physical opportunity available, and yet also led me into the creative world of writing and delving into literature. These gave me a real escape, and a real passion and drive in life.

As a PE trainee, did you know you could qualify as a teacher in another subject area too?

Why?

PE is an extremely competitive area, so why not stand out with a second subject? You can choose an EBACC subject to broaden your skills and abilities as a teacher.

How does it work?

A minimum of 10% of your placement timetable is allocated to your second subject. However, it is up to your judgement, alongside the SCITT team, as to how much time is ultimately assigned to your EBACC subject -you may want to do more, as I did! You will get a mentor for both of your subjects ensuring you develop and flourish as a teacher of two subjects!

How does doing two subjects benefit you?

  1. Firstly, the job market. It is competitive enough as it is in PE, and there may be PE jobs that also require you to pick up a second subject – so be one step ahead! If you are struggling to find a job in one subject, apply for a job in the other!

  • Why choose between two subjects you love, when you can do both?! I have adored and had a great passion for both subjects my entire life: they were the subjects that inspired and motivated me the most at school to be creative and gave me the drive to achieve. You may as well add another bow to your string! Keep your passion for both subjects.

  • Teaching in a practical PE setting is incredibly different to a classroom setting. Things you do not have to think as much about in the classroom are much more crucial on the field and in the sports hall or studio: timings, transitions, voice placement, groupings, placement etc. Being able to teach both subjects really provides a far superior holistic view of your teaching practice and enables you to transfer different ideas and strategies across each subject that otherwise you perhaps would not think of! My English mentor commented frequently on my dynamic presence and creativity in lessons that captivated students, which she attributed partially to my background of teaching PE. Similarly, students seemed to enjoy being able to comment on other lessons I had taught them in, creating a personable environment and building stronger professional relationships.

  • Teaching two subjects also allows you to see what students are like in different lessons. Let’s face it, not all students will love your subject as much as you do. However, in a different subject, you may be able to build bonds with students you were previously unable to, motivating them to work harder for you. Also, inevitably your presence in different classrooms makes you more familiar to students and allows them to see you in a different setting. When behavioural issues arise, being able to see students in different subjects is actually very interesting, and a big help to think about strategies that will work across the secondary curriculum.

  • Teaching two subjects allows your CROSS-CURRICULAR links to flow much more easily, and students benefit from this familiarity of links between subjects.

  • You’ll also have a bigger network of colleagues to guide and support you with a range of ideas and resources to share! Friends from all subjects of course support you, but those from your particular subjects will be able to help with your subject knowledge, pedagogical advancement and strategies more specifically, giving you a larger pool of people to gain ideas and assistance from!

Is it more challenging doing two subjects?

In some ways, yes. You need to be even more organised and on top of your game. There is certainly much more curricular content you need to know – this is the biggy! However, I absolutely loved it. When I got to teach my second subject, English, it was almost like a little break from my main subject, meaning it did not feel difficult at all! My second subject mentors were incredibly supportive and pleasantly surprised at my ability to adapt between the two subjects so easily. I picked up so many more skills teaching across my different subjects, and this has enabled me to further progress my own teaching ability, and subsequently aid the learning of my students. It enabled me to build relationships with students who were in both my subject classes, who otherwise may not have enjoyed and participated as actively in PE. However, building a relationship with them in an English lesson was then transferred to my PE lessons.

 One of the best feelings in the world, was when one particular student came to thank me at the end of my placement for not giving up on her in either subject. I encouraged, pushed, and challenged her, whilst being aware of her personal difficulties and therefore took a personal interest in her, and her confidence and ability grew massively. Having a student thank you for all your hard work and telling you that you are the reason they did not give up on themselves, whilst everyone else seemingly had, was precious. This is what teaching is all about!

Isn’t PE easier to just do by itself?

Whatever anyone tells you about PE, do not believe it is the easiest subject to do! You need to be fully committed in a challenging practical setting (and your theory lessons), and don’t forget your extra-curricular activities, which may mean a 10 hour+ day at school (yes I have done that frequently before!) However, building further relationships with students in this time is what being a PE teacher is all about – there is nothing like training with your students, having a laugh and getting to know them better, while encouraging them to partake in physical activity and ultimately learn – whatever that may be! Being a PE teacher will give you a different kind of bond with students, and it is one that I absolutely love to pieces, but having that second subject makes everything even greater!

Advice for training to teach PE with EBACC?

DO IT. I have absolutely no regrets, it has been the best experience.

Not sure whether to choose SCITT?

DO IT. They genuinely care about your wellbeing, your professional development and YOU.

Don’t want to do the EBACC but still want to teach PE?

Oh, go on, still DO IT! (But alright, if you really want to stick with PE alone, go for it!)

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NEXT STEPS – Find out more about PE with Ebacc