Teacher honoredHow often do you hear someone say this about their job? “I love it. I could win the lottery and I would still teach.”
By: Matt Suoja, Lake County News Chronicle
How often do you hear someone say this about their job?
“I love it. I could win the lottery and I would still teach.”
Those words, from adaptive physical education teacher Kim Pierson, should be true for any educator.
Her main job is to make all kids feel like they belong.
This philosophy certainly rang true in the ears of Minnesota’s educational system as she was named the teacher of the year for adaptive physical education.
The prize, titled the George Hanson Developmental Adapted Physical Education Award, came from the Minnesota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
It is given to a teacher who has delivered “outstanding services and contributions given by an elementary, secondary, higher education, or other professional worker in developmental adapted physical education profession as exemplified by George Hanson.”
“George was a pioneer in the field of Developmental Adapted Physical Education and a leader in our discipline,” Pierson said. “He was known for his creativeness and inventing tools for kids to be involved.”
Pierson, who teachers grades K-1 (regular phy-ed) and ages 3 to 21 for the adaptive form, said the alternate version provides disabled students opportunities to be physically active with their peers.
“All kids are equal,” she said, adding the program helps develop self-esteem by having disabled students involved with the same activities as classmates.
In a recent gym class, students were playing flag football. One of the students in the class, who has cerebral palsy, was included in the game by always being the center. Another example that came to mind for Pierson was in a class at the high school where students were practicing archery. The school had received a special bow for disabled students who don’t have the hand strength to use a regular bow.
“There’s always a way,” she said about getting students involved in physical activities. “It’s different for every student.”
“My goal is to make participation inclusive, safe and appropriate [for all students],” she said.
With that comes creativity.
“Kim is an exemplary physical education teacher,” said Pat Driscoll, Minnehaha principal. “She uses innovative methods to teach the skills students need to be proficient. Kim understands brain based learning and how physical activity affects the child’s learning. Kim is a leader; she led the district physical education curriculum committee in writing curriculum that addressed the Minnesota State Standards for Health and Physical Education.”
Pierson has been teaching in the district for 23 years.