Work Experience As A Gym Instructor Physical Education Essay
As the warm sun lowered, the sky began to fill with tones of orange. My dog’s tags on his collar jingled while we walked down the cracked sidewalk. My pocket began to vibrate. I pulled out the buzzing phone and on it displayed an unknown number. I don’t usually answer the phone to numbers I don’t recognize, but for some reason, I felt compelled to answer the call. I answered the phone with a curious “Hello?” wondering who it could be on the other end of the line.
A warm, yet energetic female voice replied with “Hi, this is Angela from The Little Gym!” Is this Brooke Benedict?”
“Yes,” I exclaimed.
“I’m calling to let you know that you have been chosen as an instructor at The Little Gym.”
While trying to contain my excitement, I overly thanked her. I will forever be glad I decided to answer the phone that day because it was the start of my journey at The Little Gym of St. Charles. Not just my journey of teaching there, but my journey of how I have become literate in many skills through my employment.
The Little Gym is just how it sounds; it is little and a gym, a gymnastics gym to be more specific. It’s non-competitive and all about fun, literally, the motto is “Serious Fun.” When you walk in through the double glass doors, a positive atmosphere with bright vivid colors that pop from the walls welcomes you. Immediately, your nostrils will fill with a heavy scent of hand sanitizer masking the smell of feet and dirty diapers. First, you will see the front desk with a smiling face behind it, and to the left is a wall of wide glass windows imprinted with millions of fingerprints looking into the gym filled with colorful squishy equipment. All the mats throughout the gym look fatigued as if they are in need of a vacation, but not just yet - it’s time for class. Teaching a class at The Little Gym may seem complex and confusing at first but once you get the hang of it, you will be teaching a class like it’s just muscle memory. Sort of like driving, very intimidating and tricky at first, but soon enough you are swerving through lanes like it’s nothing.
After I enter the gym upon my arrival, I fly open the child-proof door and walk behind the front desk. Next, I slip my shoes off as if I am at home and plop into one of the cushiony swivel chairs. I can hear the playful repetitive music blaring in the gym, and I wonder if it’s actually playing or just stuck in my head. I reach for the lesson plans in a hefty binder that is known as The Little Gym “bible”. I wrap my hand around a cold metal pen and begin to write a pound of sticky notes for class. Soon my students begin arriving, I greet each one as they enter the double glass doors. They get so excited for class, I can hear their little naked feet smack against the hardwood floors as they run around the lobby in their skin-tight leotards waiting. Finally, it’s time for class. Families have gathered around in the lobby chatting, and when they see me walk over to the gym doors they jump on their kids to go line up at the doors. Impulsive giggles blurt from my students’ mouths as they impatiently wait for me to release them into the gym like a pack of savages into the wild.
As I open the glass doors to the gym, the kids turn into a stampede of bulls running faster than the speed of light. As soon as the kids can get their hands on a piece of equipment, they are jumping like kangaroos, hanging like sloths, and swinging like monkeys. My head is spinning from just watching them do their forward rolls and cartwheels over and over and over again. I gulp down my ice-cold water filling my mouth with a metallic taste, and then take a deep breath filling my lungs with air to prepare myself to use my loud, but calm voice. I begin to yell an overused, but effective Little Gym melody to get everyone’s attention. In a snap, they sit their bottoms on the fuzzy blue carpet, I give them inky stamps with my blue-stained fingers for doing an awesome job. The enthusiasm never stops at The Little Gym.
Class ends and I make an effort to say goodbye to each kid as they fled the gym. The last family steps outside into the fresh air and a sigh of relief is let free as I can finally wipe my deceptive smile from my face and allow my drowsiness to take over my body. But my job is not done for the day, I mentally and physically prepare myself for the worst, but the most essential part of my job, the cleaning. I remind myself that my student’s safety is my number one priority and begin to tirelessly wipe each mat free of germs. My muscles try to put on the brakes as they begin to ache. I push through for them, my students. I wipe the red ones, the blue ones, the purples ones, the orange ones, and even the rainbow ones. The mats are ready for a good night's sleep after their bath time. I click the lights, lock the door, and say goodnight to The Little Gym.
Some may think that this job is a job from Hades, but I wouldn’t choose any other place in the world to work at. Yes, I agree, kids are whiney and can be miniature devils, but patience and dedication must be on your side. If you give a child patience and remand dedicated to them, you will be able to teach them anything they may need to know from how not to be a little devil to how to do a cartwheel. You can think of patience and dedication as the secret ingredients to the recipe for success at this job. Trust me, I know, teaching can seem very overwhelming at first because you feel like all the parents are relying on you to make their child an amazing gymnast. During class, you even feel as if the parents stare you down like a hawk looking at its dinner. But soon after you start, confidence will begin to grow within you, leadership will shine through, and you will learn that the parents aren’t that intimidating, but actually appreciate you for your hard work. Once I had a rough class because not many of my students were listening and following directions. One of the parents had noticed and came up to me after class and praised me for handling the class as well as I did. She had said she wasn’t sure she would be able to handle that if it was her and said that I had the most patience she had seen in a person. That mom turned my night from sinking in stress to walking on clouds. Not every day of teaching is rainbows, but you have to remember the reason you are doing what you do. You get to be a role model for children in their prime time of development and impact their lives more than you know.
It’s amazing to see the kids flourish like plants week to week. One week they can’t do the skill without you by their side, and the next they are doing it all on their own. One of my students named, Brooklyn, was very scared of the high bar. She would swing on the high bar, but not flip around it. The high bar does stand tall hovering over the little five-year-olds, so I understand why it terrorizes some of them. In one class, I made it my goal to help her face her fear. We started slowly with her going from the low bar to the high bar and worked through each progression from front support to casting. Finally, I gained enough of her trust to let me spot her for a tummy roll on the high bar. She hesitated at first, but then she did it! I felt like a proud parent. In just a few weeks, she was progressing to her pullover. She began absorbing new bar skills like a sponge. I admire Brooklyn. She may be five years old, but her confidence soared and continues to.
My students are not the only ones that gain skills, but I do as well. I’m deeply gratified for each skill I have obtained through my employment at The Little Gym. If I were to list each skill I have learned from this occupation, it would be endless. I have gone from a timid sixteen-year-old to a mature young adult, and now will be able to use learned skills such as communication and patience in my future career as a physician assistant when handling patients. My future patients may even be kids, and instead of teaching them gymnastics, I can teach them about illnesses they may suffer from. Learning to teach a class at the Little Gym isn’t something you can learn in one day, but it is worth the reward. It is worth the sweat, tears, and giggles. My life wouldn’t be the same without the kids who made me Miss Brooke.