Celebrating PE Teachers - Sharon Gregory
Celebrating Rockstar Teachers in the Mid-Atlantic
From teaching to a classroom full of motivated students to navigating the new normal of keeping kids active and engaged with online learning, teachers across the Mid-Atlantic are working tirelessly to ensure learning does not stop while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Teacher Appreciation Week, celebrated nationwide May 4 through May 8, USTA Mid-Atlantic is spotlighting the continued positive influence teachers in the Mid-Atlantic region make in children’s lives inside and outside the classroom.
One such teacher is Sharon Gregory, an adaptive physical education teacher at Piedmont Regional Education Program in Charlottesville, Va. Sharon has been a PE teacher for 34 years and works to create fun and engaging activities for her Adapted students.
In order to continue to create an inclusive environment that her students can thrive in, Sharon turned to the USTA's Net Generation school tennis program.
“I use Net Generation [curriculum] to teach “striking” skills to my adaptive PE students. I can modify the ball, racquet, and activities to best meet their needs,” Sharon said. “It provides confidence by teaching skills they see their peers mastering and provides them with a lifelong fitness activity.”
Net Generation, the official youth tennis of USTA, is on a mission to introduce tennis to a new generation of greats. It celebrates children learning the game, at any ability, and provides school teachers with turnkey lesson plans for grades k-12 that introduce tennis in a fun and engaging way. 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.
As soon as Sharon brought tennis into her classroom, her Adapted PE students were immediately engaged and interested in the sport. When asked how the students reacted when they learned that they were about to play tennis, she said, “They were ecstatic! So excited and proud that they are working on the same skills as peers. A true sense of pride.”
During the tennis unit in class, Sharon uses the free equipment and curriculum that she received from creating her account, registering her class, and completing a school partner agreement form. The equipment has been a valuable resource for her lessons.
“I use the cue cards to provide visual support, I use a stack of cones to serve as a tee for stationary striking, and I use tape on the floor to indicate foot positions,” she said.
“Utilizing all of these elements allows me to scaffold skills for each of my students,” Sharon adds. “I love the ‘I can’ moments! My students always look forward to our tennis unit.”
Sharon is still looking to create those “I can” moments while her school is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I teach Adapted PE, so the impact is challenging. Many students do not have equipment at home, but they are given activity options to build on non-racquet skills,” she said. She currently shares weekly activities with the parents so kids can practice their tennis at home.
We are celebrating educators like Sharon for not only teaching, mentoring, and guiding students in the classroom to succeed and reach their full potential - but also for being an inspiration outside the classroom as well. Using tennis as a way to teach adaptive students skills that will benefit them for a lifetime is a true celebration.
Happy Teachers Appreciation week to all our educators and teachers in the Mid-Atlantic. We are celebrating with you!
If you are a teacher or a parent looking to bring tennis into your local school, just like Sharon Gregory, you can learn more about getting started by visiting www.USTA.com/MASTennisinPE.