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Is PE teaching the easiest teacher job?

Discussion in 'Physical education' started by Happygopolitely, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Compared to all other teaching - is PE teaching the easiest job? Not a core subject, less marking, smaller classes at GCSE and not too much hassle with looking at grades over and over.
  2. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    It's just anecdotal evidence but I've noticed that a lot of schools I've worked supply in have a high proportion of SLT/Head of Year being PE teachers.

    It's the same amount of time worked considering after school and weekend sporting activities, but it's time doing the best part of the job which is interacting with the students, not stuck doing paperwork.

    I think a lot of behavioural issues with boys in particular can be solved by having them play a sport to actually burn off all that energy from those energy drinks.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with this, it would just be nice if SLT in many schools would recognise this and understand that each subject has different challenges.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  3. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    What about all the extra time PE teachers have to give up arrranging and attending fixtures after school, at weekends and in the holidays. The PE teachers at my schools worked very hard. I don't think it is an easy job at all.
    lunarita, blazer and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    In my experience, It aint that much 'extra time' at all compared to all marking time others do though. The PE teachers I have come across in the past do little clubs, little marking and have lots of time for breaks. Gotta say I taught pe and it was very easy. In other subjects it was an hour of teaching plus an hour or more after of marking time per lesson in own time.
  5. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    No weekends. Rarely in the holidays. They take kids out in the afternoons and yes that might mean staying after 3.15. But targets? When did you last hear, "No pay progression for you as we only got to the semi-finals." Or " Your lesson requires improvement as Cedric was unable to perform a satisfactory forward roll?"
    QueenieBianca likes this.
  6. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    I had weekends and holidays when I taught pe. And the pe teachers I saw in the past all had their weekends and holidays to themselves. As long as the kidd turned up to their pe lessons everyone was happy.

    Never ever saw them on results days. And they were hardly visited during Ofsteds. Very very little marking too. My child is thinking of teaching despite my protests - so I am advising them to go for the easiest option in my book: pe teaching.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  7. philipgregory19821

    philipgregory19821 New commenter

    I wouldn't say its the "easiest" job but its certainly the most fun. It should be noted that many senior leadership teams have at least one member of the PE department within the ranks. This is because of the skill set that PE teachers have already or develop as they go.

    Yes we do have to invest time into the after school clubs but lets be honest this is the perfect way to engage young people and give them a chance to enjoy school life. Its also much more fun and rewarding than marking books in my opinion.

    We all had choices when we set out on our teaching path. The smart ones chose wisely :). When people tell me its easier being a PE teacher, I just laugh and say they ticked the wrong UCAS box.

    Joking apart, not everyone can teach PE. It takes a very high level of confidence and organisation. When we have "regular" teachers do one hour a week for a year, they soon realise it takes a lot of learning to be a good PE teacher.
    HelenREMfan likes this.
  8. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    I agree many leadership teams now have a pe teacher. Lets face it that is because they have the time. But then is that why some leadership teams have become so lazy and distant? In my experience its pretty easy - little marking, small exam groups, and not too much hassle from the likes of Ofsted. Still if that is how the system works then that is the game to play.

    I think its up there in terms of the easiest teaching job going.
  9. KMac99

    KMac99 New commenter

    I'm a PE teacher and I have to say it's no dawdle. We work incredibly hard at our school. Whilst not all schools are the same, at my last two schools, I had practices before school, every lunchtime and afterschool (until 6pm) at least 3 times a week. Generally, I work every Saturday (sometimes both Saturday and Sunday) and I don't get home until between 8-9pm. We also cover internally (in my school, we realised that we had 3 days without some sort of cover from Sept to February) so we often had more cover than our 'academic' counterparts. My school doesn't do GCSE or A-Level so we don't have marking (although we PE teachers would like to do it) but we do have lots of admin with analysis, teamsheets, event planning (Sports Days, tournaments, etc) and lesson planning. There is definitely pressure from SLT, parents and students to perform well and achieve. In my school's last Ofsted, the biggest thing they pointed out that needed improvement involved PE so you can't assume that in PE you're safe.

    I'll agree with others that many PE teachers have additional responsibility but it's not because we have more time - it's because we're organised and good at leading/coaching people. Teaching is hard (no matter what subject you teach) and you should steer your child towards a subject they are passionate about (otherwise, they will burn out, hate it or be no good at it). Saying that teaching is also arguably one of the most important jobs out there so I'd say support your child in finding the right role for them (not the easiest one).
  10. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter


    No gcse or A level sounds great to me. That means less accountability and targets. I will guide my child to go for PE teaching because it does seem to be the easiest of teaching jobs - all things taken into account.

    In my experience, I have found many teachers to be far more organised though because they have to be . And a few heads have said to me in my time that PE teachers do have more time on their hands. They see that as the luck of the draw.

    I guess there is Drama teaching too - but that looks tougher than PE in the scheme of things.
  11. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    Definitely the easiest job in teaching

    It's not as if we're in early for before school swimming practices or stay late for after school practice

    Or the lunchtime and after school football, basketball, volleyball, track, tennis and cricket practices

    And thank God we dont give up our weekends for tournaments or fixtures

    And as for organising and chaperoning the multiple activity weekends, ski trips, and camping trips..

    Lazy gits, the lot of us
  12. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Personally, I hold PE teachers in utter contempt.

    There is so much more they could do for special needs.

    I have, of course, explained it all in the House of Commons.

  13. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    PE teachers' careers work differently, or at least there are different risk factors. The effects of aging, or of accident, can mean that they are no longer physically able to teach PE and so need to plan for that possibility. Teaching a non-physical subject or leadership /pastoral roles are the obvious solutions.
    Our PE team have done both on top of excellent A Level and GCSE PE results (and a wide range of sports teams as well).
  14. smiteu

    smiteu New commenter

    a normal PE teacher now does
    Btec sport
    A level
    KS 3 lessons
    extra curricular

    from September to January my school had approximately 2/3 fixtures per week per member of staff (with non competitive clubs on top of that) as well as intra school competitions, with many fixtures not allowing the member of staff to get back to school until 7 o'clock.

    I appreciate other teachers do their marking, however they are doing it in their own house and probably with a glass of wine on the table.

    if people thought it was so easy then maybe they should give up their own job and do it and show us all where we are going wrong, or be quiet.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  15. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I guess it depends on how good you are at PE. I was always hopeless at games sessions, didnt care about iy, couldn't remember the rules and found it completely boring so it would have been my nightmare. I think @bigfatgit is forgetting all the extras that other teachers do - I'm thinking of drama and music productions for a kick off.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  16. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    Bigfatgit forgets nothing!! Lazy teachers exist in all subjects (the same as hardworking ones exist in all)

    My staff will have multiple teams at 30 tournaments this year plus 8 swimming galas and will have teams training every day both during and after school etc; as well as chaperoning trips

    They will ALSO be assisting with the drama and music productions (IF they happen)

    My bunch are extremely dedicated professionals who I wouldn't swap for the moon
    HelenREMfan likes this.
  17. diddydave

    diddydave Established commenter

    Any job is easy if you can do it. Some people are 'pied pipers', for them teaching any subject is easy - my wife was one. I'm much more your average - controlling the back row of the classroom from 30 feet away could be done with a 'look' but I wouldn't fancy doing it from the length of a football pitch!
    She taught PE and for the first 10 years didn't teach much in the summer term as she was always touring playing for England. (In the days when elite athletes, other than footballers, had to have jobs as well).
    I was always able to finish my marking and preparation (maths) before she was ready to go home after running clubs.
    She brought in GCSE and then A level PE, at that point I started cycling home as she wasn't ready to finish for another hour after school.
    Then literacy and numeracy across the curriculum arrived and she'd spend hours on it, particularly worksheets and assessment pieces for the 'non-doers' (those with colds and notes from mummy) to make sure various boxes were ticked - and she embraced it with the rigour you'd expect from an international athlete.
    By 50 she was burning out but luckily she'd married a mathematician who understood compound interest and had made some lucky investments and business choices so was able to step off the treadmill.
  18. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter

    Careful Diddydave, you seem to be talking about the sort of teacher that circuskevin holds in utter contempt

    It's a good job the House of Commons will, probably, be suspended otherwise he'd have to report me to them

    diddydave likes this.
  19. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Oh this OP has to be a wind up and I even think prob directed to reel me in.

    1. To quite some degree it depends on whether you are dealing with male or female PE teaching. In my long experience for many years our male staff 'played' whilst myself and female colleague taught.
    2. To this day I don't agree with GCSE PE etc as we actually do enough without the addition of the marking etc etc. I cursed the day the stupid little man in charge of boys' PE dragged us into teaching it. (How I remember him greeting the Ofsted inspector on day 1 of inspection pre the school day and inviting said Inspector to come into P1 his A level PE group to discuss 'stuff' as the 2 kids he had for A level weren't that bright and they could have a chat then!!! I looked at my female dept member and showed her we were in for a nightmare.... and we were. His comments whenever we tried to intervene all week were - 'but you are one department and I know the girls' side is far better but I have to judge you as one dept' . The situation worsened when the numpty in the male dept pushed his teaching group together with a non specialist teaching the other group and just sent them on 'run in the park' with said Inspector watching. The boys expecting football ran in their football boots skating dangerously along the tarmac paths - no lesson objectives set, or apparent learning going on at all)
    3. Of course with the advent of data for date's sake we were given 'targets' for our pupils. So kids taking GCSE PE would have targets based on former SATS results; no bearing on what was needed for GCSE PE at all with 50% of the mark based on physical ability. NEAB board made it practically impossible for kids to score top marks on the practical side as even high county ranking athletes weren't deemed able enough for top marks in athletic activity. The theory paper always seemed steered towards tricking the kids, certainly not focussed on allowing them to show what they did know and our Head of Geography freely admitted that the theory papers he saw were far more difficult than their Geog papers. We eventually swapped from that board to Edexcel who were better. However nothing seemed to get our boys to understand that it was more than just getting out to play football and that they actually had to do quite a lot of theory work and gain proficiency across 3 other practicals (You could not offer 4 games for example - you had to include an athletic activity, outdoor adventurous, swimming, movement etc to show a breadth)
    4. Include any educational 'innovation' etc which would be applied to PE whether it was relevant or not. I remember the times of dragging out a "portable' whiteboard on which to display the lesson objectives/targets up to the netball courts. What a farce! Also we lost the best female PE teacher I ever knew as during the above mentioned inspection she was criticised by the male Inspector for not dealing with her objectives in her GCSE lesson. She explained fruitlessly that she had covered lesson targets etc in the changing rooms with the girls there to save practical time. He said he hadn't seen it.... and the one girl he asked seemed unaware (well she would be as her hair style/state always dominated her only brain cell).... did he ask any of the others.... ie anyone but the target girl he asked.....nope.... My lovely colleague left teaching after that and was a massive loss to me and the school and teaching.
    4. Yes I was a Head of Year - more of that later. I defy you to find many staff in the staff room freely volunteering to sub/cover a PE lesson? It doesn't happen..... our science staff freaked out if put down on a PE cover. To be fair also if I could I would double up a class and arrange an activity to occupy a lot of kids and release the member of staff sent to cover (all I asked was that they told me where they would be if I needed them) Only if I had a really challenging group or a group with an issue would I keep that cover staff by me....and if I did I would let them sit and work etc whilst I taught.
    5. 2 of us in the dept had pastoral roles. People have already kindly commented that PE staff are usually well organised etc so I won't repeat that. Teaching PE one has to have good class management and discipline (if not...forget about teaching PE!) That transfers well to pastoral management.
    6. In the good old days before exam PE, PE staff gave the commitment to extra curricular activities. These range from practices and matches to outward bound courses and residentials etc. I also accompanied trips with other departments - French exchanges (I ended up running those!) and History battlefield residentials and Barcelona trip. Staff knowledge of the kids from an outside of classroom role was always recognised by many staff as a very useful addition to any residential they were running. With the advent of exam teaching PE staff now can do quite considerably MORE than other members of staff. Of course that relies on the professionalism of the individual and their commitment.
    7.Whole school promotion - this plays quite some part in the role of PE specialist. Being - not to be too modest about it - very successful - despite having the worst sport facilities in the town we produced girls' teams winning many of the tournaments/leagues competitions etc. We probably produced more county competitors in a variety of sports than any other school. We also had a very high expectation regarding kit and our teams looked very professional. Class lessons would always see the dep head he'd showing prospective parents or VIPs around the school including our lessons on the itinerary - because our girls looked great - and our participation levels were very high (much better than the boys) That came about by sheer hard work and application - good luck to any new entrant to PE teaching these days if that isn't well established in a school and an expectation norm.

    I taught PE til I was 58 - with knackered knees - but.... I wouldn't have had it any other way. There are still members of my ex champion hockey teams playing club hockey in their 30s now..... and am sure many girls who can relate to an activity in PE where they gained success. You see my firm belief was that there was some aspect of PE that nearly every girl could do well in and that applied to the vast majority. We also gave credit in a games understanding part of the course whereby kids who understood a tactic or part of the sport even though they weren't top notch performer could get credit!

    So... I do hope I have managed to bore the OP to tears by my post..... I could so easily continue..... as there isn't anything they said which I couldn't shoot down 'in flames'. Incidentally the girls' dept never ever got any volunteers by other staff members to 'run' a team, whereas the men staff saw quite a few men taking one team to run. With my other member of dept we would run a huge number of girls' teams as our aim was to give as many girls as possible the opportunity to represent their school. For the few who couldn't make a A,B or C team we also ran inter form competitions so they would get a chance there. I still have the book of girls' names who gained their sport colours in all the activities we ran teams in.... a lovely memento of so so many kids i worked with in extra curricular....evidence of how much effort and energy went into my role.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  20. bigfatgit

    bigfatgit Occasional commenter


    We're roughly the same age but I think my knees might be about 20 years older

    Totally agree with you about examination PE. When I was (much) younger, my HoD basically told the Head that he could shove it where the sun doesn't shine. Strangely, it was the female staff pushing for it

    This was the same Head that told us that we WOULD do our early morning / lunchtime / afterschool and weekend practices. This actually meant it would be "directed time" and, in effect, we would have finished our directed number of hours by February - he soon backed down

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