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Name: Cheryl Butler
Describe one or two of the newest and/or most innovative activities that you do with your students in physical education?
One of the special events we have is a recital after the completion of our dance unit. We invite the parents of the students to come to school during their child's physical education class and see the different dances they have learned. At the end of the performance the parents can come and learn a dance that their child can teach them. We started new courses this year in the state of Florida and so this past year has been a learning experience for me. Some of the things I taught were archery, rollerblading, fencing, orienteering, camping, golf, recreational games, dance, educational gymnastics, and self-defense to name a few. I have tried to incorporate some video grading, sport education models and peer assessments over the years. It is an ongoing process that is constantly being revised and reviewed.
What is your particular expertise in regard to teaching physical education – what is the focus of your teaching?
My expertise lies in my willingness to try new things. I may not be an innovator myself, but I am always trying to find ideas from workshops, conferences, books and anybody who is willing to share. Another area that I think is part expertise is the fact that I love what I am doing and my students can tell. I want them to be enthusiastic about fitness, sports and physical activity, so I try my best to instill in them the drive to be active in some manner.
What is your philosophy for physical education – what do you believe in?
My philosophy deals with what is best for the children, not what is easiest for me. I am not a babysitter who has children busy and happy and believes that is the role of a physical educator. I want my students to find at least one thing out of what they have been taught, and develop it further. Everybody Can is what I want my students to think. They may not be able to do the skill or task great, but they can try some of it. As I learned from Jean Bladyes-Madigan I want them think "I can't do that……………………yet".
What does being a NASPE physical education Teacher of the Year mean to you?
That my feelings about the importance of physical education and how I feel it should be thought of is shared by my peers. I feel that physical education should be considered a core subject and being selected a TOY is a chance for me to spread the word. If I could infuse every physical education teacher with the enthusiasm that my fellow TOY's and I have for our subject, we would never have to worry that our programs would be cut. Everyone would realize just how important quality physical education is to the welfare of our children and our nation.
What do you do to help other physical education teachers plan and implement exemplary programs?
Try new things, develop a professional library of resources, and above of all try and infuse in them the importance of what we do. Do not be afraid of making mistakes. If something doesn't work, throw it out and try something new. I am always willing to take practicum students from the college and I have had many student teachers.
Any quotes from students about you as a physical education teacher, or the classes taught by you?
"Mrs. Butler is the BEST coach anyone could ever have. She encourages me to do my best!" -Sydney
"Mrs. Butler is really sweet and helps me very much in P.E. When I came into P.E. in the middle of the year, she helped me right away." -Kristin
"Mrs. Butler is a good coach, she teaches us a lot." -Nic
"Coach Butler is the most fair minded. She has never given up on someone she loves. She loves sports and she has great patience and loves her job." -Jessica
"Mrs. Butler is an epic coach. She allows us to have a lot of fun." -Justin
"A great teacher in physical education." -Jaylon
"Very instructive and fun." -Andrew
What are three of your "favorite" conference session titles that you have presented?
Dances from Around the World with co-presenter Roxanne Martin – Folk, Square and Line Dances
What's New from FAHPERD – Northwest Florida Drive – In Clinic This was a session bringing back new things I learned at the state conference for our local teachers.
FAHPERDS 2009 – TOY presentation - Brisketball
Additional major teaching awards Cheryl has received: