The journey to my teaching career so far… Outdoor Education to PE
Whilst growing up at high school I always knew I wanted to be a Physical Education teacher. My teachers were so inspiring and I always would look up to them or ask them for advice. PE was the only lessons I looked forward to and the only lessons I was egaged in. It was clear from a young age that I had a natural talent for almost any sport. I lived in a small town and joined my local girls football team from the age of 10 and a local girls cricket team during high school. My talent in these sports led me to play for county in cricket (Warwickshire, Worcestershire) and for West Bromwich Albion Ladies football club for a number of years.
My high school went on a outdoor educational trip to Marle Hall in North Wales where I took part in advnturous activities such as rock climbing, coasteering, canoeing, gorge scrambling, etc. I quickly fell in love with the buzz you get from these activities and the beautiful places these activities took place. I had found another possible career to look into. I went on three more outdoor educational trips during my studies in sports coaching at college. I now wanted to be an outdoor education instructor. I was held back for two years whilst waiting to turn 18 to start this career. When my 18th birthday came I applied to be a trainee outdoor instuctor and volunteered for a year at Marle Hall. This is where I had found my inspiration for outdoor education. I had the decision of having to quit my football and cricket and leaving my friends behind for a year to train to be an outdoor intructor. It was the best decision I made as the year working in the outdoors with children was so inspirational. It was weird to think that I had changed my decision of wanting to be a PE teacher to an outdoor education instructor but I had to follow my heart.
I decided to study 'Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Management' at the University of Worcester for the next three years. It was an interesting and fascinating year of study and I learnt so much about the importance of outdoor education. Working and studying in the outdoor education sector for four years allowed me to gain many national governing body awards that take time and skill to qualify in. It took three years hard work, to qualify for my Mountain Leader award and a long time for other awards too. I have climbed to the top of over 100 mountains in the UK and have climbed over 300 rock climbing routes in Europe. It was coming towards the end of my three year study at university and I was wondering what to do next for my career. I had always thought of doing a PGCE in a subject and so applied for different courses. I applied for PGCE in Outdoor Eductaion and a PGCE in Physical Education.
I knew that I still would love to be a part of PE in schools but knew I had missed out on studying it at undergradute level. I was accepted on to the outdoor education course at Bangor and the physical education course at Warwick. I had to make the hard decision of which pathway to take. I decided to take the PGCE in Secondary physical education pathway as I already had lots of experience in outdoor education. I felt like I needed to open up my career pathway so that I was not narrowing it to outdoor education. I was worried about my knowledge for the course but I knew that I needed to go ahead with it.
Now studying physical education and being in a school environment has made me realise that there are so many skills that are transferable between outdoor education and physical education. The skills and knowledge are looked at differently but the application of them is so similar. I studied learning theories and leadership theories in my degree which I have been able to utilise in teaching PE. I have gained experience in teaching children in dangerous environments, and many times I have had their lives in my hands. This experience has helped me with the control of a class in a classroom or Pe environment and I believe has shaped me into a calm, approachable and collective teacher.
I believe there should be more outdoor education opportunities for pupils in schools due to the many benefits it entails. I would love to work in a school with an outdoor eduaction department and a PE department. I am looking into continuing my studies in education and considering applying for an MA in Professional Education at Warwick Uni. My career has always been thrown between PE teaching or Outdoor Education. I believe it will continue to be like that due to my love for both subjects and the enjoyment I get from teaching both. I look forward to improving my career in both directions and discovering new avenues in research for both subjects to help improve education experiences for children.