A life in the week of Immy Hillyard, a PE teacher at Unsted Park School in Godalming, Surrey, a special school for children with autism.
Briefing starts at 8.45 in which the teachers and teaching assistants (TAs) are given key messages and receive brief updates on particular students. As well as being the only PE teacher at Unsted Park, I am also a year 11 form tutor and period 1 is PSHE. Our focus is on the effects of drugs and we watch a documentary about steroids before discussing the risks and moral questions. After the lesson Liz, my class TA, tells me that steroids would be great to improve her tennis so I’m not convinced I got the right message across. I eat lunch with a student called Ben as usual and we chat about him trying out air cadets. In the afternoon I have my KS2 classes and the boys play tennis. After a brief but vocal disagreement about who was better at serving, we move inside to play dodgeball instead. After work I drive straight to the gym to get in a tempo run and a weights and core set before getting home around 7.30pm.
I have PPA time during period 1. However I need to film one of my students playing badminton for her GCSE practical assessment. Because the school’s gym is too small for a badminton court, we spend period 1 and 2 at the local sports centre getting the footage we need. After break duty supervising my form, I have a double GCSE lesson with two students. One student does not attend the lesson because we have to change rooms unexpectedly and as this change was not on the timetable it caused the student great anxiety. After eating lunch with Ben as usual and discussing his day, I head out to the football pitch and spend the remainder of lunch as a player, referee and argument diffuser for the footballers. After lunch I have all of KS3 so students are split between football, cycling or scootering at school, and kayaking off site. During football my usually highly competitive students allow a less skilful student to take and score a penalty. The boys (pictured) are delighted with their performance and win the class match 9-8. No gym or training tonight as it is a rest day so I collapse on the sofa and work on my lesson plans for next week.
My first two lessons are GCSE PE with a student from my form group. I teach my GCSE students 1:1 due to different needs and personality clashes between some students. After break I have a double session with the sixth form which is usually my biggest class (eight students). We start with quick cricket and after two innings each change to American Football. One of the students leads different drills and conditioned games. After eating lunch with Ben and catching up with other students I have year 10 for outdoor education. The boys have made a den using old car tyres which was recently destroyed by my form group. During PE we rebuild the base and explore the different fitness requirements for building the base and other outdoor activities. After work I go for a short run to loosen my legs and then mark my GCSE papers.
Thursday starts with a double GCSE lesson with one student which I have set aside for collecting video evidence for his GCSE course. Eventually I manage to get the filming that I need despite having to stop midway through because a bumblebee lands on the gym floor and the student demands he be allowed to leave to get some sugar water for the bee. Unfortunately when the student returns the bee has flown away. During break duty in the sixth form I chat to the boys about football scores and as usual eat lunch with Ben and the year seven students. In the afternoon I have double year 11 in which we play cricket and then target golf. Target golf involves the students using different equipment such as a Frisbee, rugby ball and a giant foam dice and attempting to hit a target in the fewest number of shots. As always if the person with the dice rolls a six they get to go again.
For the last two years I have been completing an MSc in anthropology. But I have submitted my dissertation which means I no longer spend the day in my university library writing and editing my work. Instead I head to my gym for 8am and have the joy of having a completely empty room to train in. After struggling through my cardio work on Monday I am determined to push myself and smash my tempo run and strengthening sets. In the afternoon I drop into university to meet with my supervisor to discuss plans for a PhD starting in September. It will focus on autism from an anthropological perspective and will allow me to continue working in my school which will be ideal.
Saturdays are usually busy and start with Parkrun at Nonsuch Park where I run with my brother. I love the community feeling and the encouragement. I am on a quest to get a tshirt for achieving 50 runs and this week was my 33rd. I manage a time of 28.15 minutes which, although better than last week is still quite a way off my PB, so hopefully I will beat it next week. In the afternoon I head to watch AFC Wimbledon v Leyton Orient with my dad and brother. The mighty Wombles are on a play-off charge and manage to get another three points today. Yippee!
In the morning I watch MOTD and catch up on all the football scores so that I can keep up with the students’ chat on Monday. Earlier in the year I completed my first half marathon and I am undertaking my first full marathon later in the year so I watch the London Marathon with additional interest this year. I am able to complete all my lesson preparation for next week before the start of the Leicester game. As a Chelsea fan, this season has been over for a while so I am well and truly on the Leicester bandwagon. Last thing in the evening I email my to-do list and my lesson plans and resources to my school account ready for Monday morning.
A LIFE IN THE WEEK OF