20 Lessons Learned from 20 Years in PDHPE and Community and Family Studies Classroom

Jan 12, 2024

In my latest podcast episode, I shared the top 20 teaching tips and lessons I have gathered throughout my extensive 20+ year career in the PDHPE & Community And Family Studies classroom. From building relationships to advocating for self-care, you’ll get a wealth of practical strategies that can take any teacher's practice to the next level.

One of my first tips is to trust yourself as the educator in the classroom. For new teachers, it can be easy to doubt your abilities, but it’s important to have confidence in your expertise. I remember feeling nervous taking on my own PDHPE & Community and Family Studies classes at first but learned to trust my judgment over time. Building relationships with students from day one is also crucial. When teachers form strong connections, students are more motivated and engaged in their learning.

Consistency is another important aspect of classroom management. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn't have clear routines or structures initially, but adopting collaborative learning models brought organisation and consistency to my PDHPE & Community and Family Studies lessons. In The Learning Network today we provide templates and scaffolds for students to learn predictable guidelines. I can’t overstate the value of focusing lessons on developing skills over simply delivering content. Skills like writing, collaboration and critical thinking serve students well beyond subject content.

In addition to classroom strategies, I also wanted to share the importance of collaboration among teachers. In my early years as a PDHPE & Community and Family Studies teacher, I worked too independently and often failed to utilize my colleagues as resources. My advice now is to share ideas, programs and assessments to avoid duplicating work. Seeking feedback is also beneficial for improving your teaching practice.

I also share some of my favorite self-care recommendations to protect your precious time, energy and well-being. I didn't prioritize my own well-being for many years which negatively impacted my health. That’s why I’m so passionate about advocating for the personal and professional needs of PDHPE & Community and Family Studies teachers, leaving work at a reasonable time each day, getting sufficient sleep, exercising regularly, and putting family first when needed.

I think you’ll find this podcast episode offers a wealth of practical strategies accumulated from two decades in the classroom. 

Hopefully my experiences on building relationships, establishing routines, focusing on skills, collaborating with others and prioritizing self-care provide a road map for any PDHPE & Community and Family Studies teacher to simplify and energize your teaching practice - check out my full list below!

Twenty Teachable Tips for busy PDHPE and Community and Family Studies Educators

1. Trust Yourself
2. Build Relationships
3. Establish Consistency
4. Less on Content
5. Focus on Skills
6. Ask for Help
7. Observe others Teaching
8. Collaborate with Others
9. Say No
10. You are Replaceable
11. Pool Resources
12. Be Strategic
13. Seek Feedback
14. Embed Formative Assessment
15. Advocate for Yourself
16. Speak Openly
17. Leave Work Earlier
18. Go to Bed Early, Get up Early
19. Move your Body, Best Start to the Day
20. Prioritize You and Your Family