Celebrating PE Teachers - Dimitar Genchev
Celebrating Rockstar Teachers in the Mid-Atlantic
Teacher Appreciation Week has come to a close but that does not mean that the celebration of incredible physical education teachers in the Mid-Atlantic region will end. USTA Mid-Atlantic is proud to continue to honor teachers going above and beyond to help children learn the importance of physical activity, health, and the love of sports, especially tennis!
Teachers are adapting at a rapid pace to help all their students succeed during this time of crisis. This week we are celebrating an educator who continues to keep kids engaged through virtual learning, Dimitar Genchev, a physical education teacher at Barclay Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore, Md.
Dimitar incorporated the USTA's school tennis curriculum as a way to continue to strengthen and improve the physical education program he teaches to his students.
“Last school year I introduced tennis to my students. Many of them were exposed to the sport for the first time in their lives,” Dimitar says. “I consider it a great success that in the beginning of this school year, my students were asking me if we were going to play tennis again.”
Having a national based curriculum created in partnership with SHAPE America is what attracted him to bring Net Generation into his classroom.
“There was no way I was going to pass this opportunity to improve my education program,” he said.
The USTA school curriculum is easy, customizable, and designed for everyone, regardless of tennis experience, and has turnkey lesson plans that make it easy for teachers to implement.
In the beginning, the students in Dimitar’s class did not know how to react to learning a new sport in gym class. “Initially, my students were not sure if they wanted to play,” Dimitar said. But once they had their first introduction to tennis, the students became excited. “Tennis quickly became my students' favorite activity,” he said.
Dimitar uses both the Net Generation curriculum and the free equipment pack he received, to teach tennis in the classroom. The tennis equipment pack has been curated to align with the needs of PE teachers implementing the curriculum, with beginners in mind.
“The size and weight of the racquets are great for my younger students and the tennis balls are great for beginners learning in gym class,” Dimitar said.
Even though Dimitar is not currently able to teach his students in the classroom due to the COVID-19 pandemic he is still working to keep his students excited about tennis while they are all learning at home. “I provide two 20 minute classes a day, record video recaps of the classes for the students that missed the class or prefer to do it on their own, and I provide online health and physical education resources and assignments,” he said.
Tennis is a sport that provides so many opportunities for students. “Tennis can be a recreational sport for life, they can earn scholarships, play professionally, and it provides social opportunities,” Dimitar says. Teachers across the Mid-Atlantic use the tennis in PE curriculum in their classrooms to help students build skills that they’ll use for life.
We celebrate educators like Dimitar for not only teaching, encouraging, and exciting students in the classroom, but for going above and beyond to continue to educate students outside the classroom as well.
If you are a teacher or a parent looking to bring tennis into your local school, just like Dimitar Genchev, you can learn more about getting started by visiting www.USTA.com/MASTennisinPE.