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Name: Gabriel L. Romero
Because of high interest with television shows such as "Dancing with the Stars", "So You Think You Can Dance" to movies like "Dance With Me", and "Take The Lead, I have introduced my students to the world of social dance. Teaching East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, and Salsa, dance has allowed me the opportunity to teach students proper social dance etiquette, dance frame, posture, coordination, and confidence. After weeks of learning timing and footwork, students are given many opportunities to "strut their stuff" for their final grade.
Due to a "Can't say No" rule in effect, students are not afraid to ask each other to dance, and tend to accumulate extra credit points by going over the minimum dance requirements. Because of growing parental interest, plans are set next year for an evening dance performance by the students combined with introductory dance lessons for the parents. And due to student demand, I will be incorporating an advanced class in ballroom dancing for 8th graders next school year.
In helping 6th grade students with their hand/eye coordination, balance and confidence, I have reintroduced "Clown College" after a 3 year absence. I start out with easy stations like balancing peacock feathers and juggling scarves to juggling bean bag cubes, clubs and rings. While adding in basic tumbling, stilt walking and unicycles, the class is encouraged to come up with a new trick or stunt. Students are shown how to combine their events into a routine either by themselves or with a group so that they can put together a performance act. Soon you have students yelling "Coach, watch this!" during their practice time.
Students also learn the history of circus clowns, as well as the types of clowns, which are determined by the make-up worn. We also have lessons in prat-falls, and stage presence. "Clown Graduates" are given the opportunity to paint their faces like their drawings and receive their first clown nose. This year, the students will be performing for the 1st and 2nd graders in the Wilson Family Circus to see what it feels like to be in the center ring.
I'm not afraid to take chances on something new or unique to present to a physical education class if I feel that my students can benefit from it. By introducing them to a variety of activities and sports, I try to find something that will get them excited about coming to class. As they learn about the activity, I'll break it down so that they have a chance to find success at what they are doing. By being able to give them tools to improve on their motor skills, game strategies, cooperative abilities and bettering their own personal fitness records, it helps in developing a love for physical activity in their adult lives. Plus, I love the great look on their faces when they flash that big smile that says, "Yeah, I got it! I can do it!"
My teaching philosophy at the middle school level is to find an activity that students will excel at and have fun with it during the course of the school year. Acceptance by peers, puberty, and new surroundings can make it tough for a student, so I must make sure that each student feels comfortable in class and can try new physical activities without the fear of being teased or embarrassed by their teacher or peers. I can relate to not being the fastest, strongest, and most coordinated; and I know how it feels to be picked last for teams. I provide team captains with class rosters to pick their teams rather than having them pick their teams one by one. I will predetermine how many are on a team with 5-second time limit for grouping; or incorporate my "can't say no to a student asking you to be their partner" amongst my tricks of the trade. I work at lessening the odds of students getting their feelings hurt. I take the time to explain why we do things a certain way so that everyone will feel good about what we are doing. If the class environment is safe and comfortable, then the students will participate to their fullest potential without the fear of failing. By adding a variety of class activities, I hope to introduce each student to a physical activity that they can carry into their healthy adult life.
What a great honor it is to be named a physical education Teacher of the Year. It shines a spotlight and provides the opportunity to talk about good, quality physical education. It also provides an avenue to show how important it is for our children to have access to these programs if they are to have the tools necessary for a bright, healthy future.
I have been a mentor teacher for many student teachers from the University of Arizona's College of Education since 1987. I feel that by working with student teachers, I am paying back the many people who have helped me. I learn from them as they learn from me; I gain new ideas, and new methods in presenting physical education classes; by sharing, we both improve.
I have also been a guest speaker at the University of Arizona for Dr. Ingrid Johnson's Physical Education Student Teaching Seminar class several times and take part in question & answer sessions each semester.
I am part of the Amphitheater School District's network of physical education teachers who meet several times during the school year to discuss issues facing our profession. We share ideas, new innovations, support each other, and encourage each other to do our personal best in the classroom. Being part of the TAAG (Trials of Activities for Adolescent Girls) study through the University of Arizona, I am able to network with other middle school physical education teachers, not only in Tucson, Arizona, but also throughout the United States where the five other satellite colleges are situated. This provides me a great resource of information that I otherwise would not have available to me.
I also participate in Amphitheater School District's Curriculum Mapping program. All district teachers contribute to a national website that gives a broad overview as to what is being presented in class. It is another resource that teachers can use to enhance their instruction.
"Mr. Romero not only taught me to be physically active, but also, how to have good sportsmanship, be a good leader, and how to have fun. Thank you, Mr. Romero"
"Mr. Romero's class is awesome. I got a chance to do many fun and athletic activities. My favorite was flag football. I hope I get Mr. Romero next year."
"I really built confidence in Mr. Romero's class."
"Coach, archery was the best! I even got a bullseye!"
"Mr. Romero is a very nice and caring P.E. teacher. He always makes P.E. fun to do. He rocks!"
"Dear Mr. Romero, You are so cool. I have enjoyed all the awesome things you have made us do in PE. You are a great person and teacher. P.S. I (heart) Clown College."