Horace W. Porter School
Health and Physical Education Grades Kindergarten through grade 8
Use email: firstname.lastname@example.org ,or contact main office 860-228-9493
My name is Justin vanGelder and I am currently in my 10th year as a Horace W.
Porter Health and Physical Education teacher. I am also currently completing
my Master's of Science degree in Elementary Education at Eastern Connecticut
State University, where I completed my undergraduate Bachelor's of Science
degrees in H.P.E. as well as Sports and Leisure Management. Prior to teaching
at H.W.P. I worked for three years as a Personal trainer and Fitness Director
at a full scale health club and I have many years of experience as an athletic
coach at the recreation, middle school and high school levels in the sports of
Baseball, Basketball, Track and Field as well as Soccer.
I believe that children are individuals who need to feel loved in order to
grow physically cognitively, socially and emotionally. Children must be
provided a safe environment where creativity and free thinking are encouraged.
In order to accomplish this, teachers should allow children to explore their
world and express their ideas in a classroom that promotes respect for all
people and their differences.
Teachers should design and manage modes and methods of accessing information
instead of simply dictating or disseminating. Teachers should convey
enthusiasm for the process of acquiring knowledge. Teachers must work to
create authentic experiences whereby students construct knowledge through
discovery of concepts and practice of skills. Our “curriculum must, then, be
the kind to include such life-experiences” and “be conceived, therefore, in
terms of a succession of experiences and enterprises having a maximum of
lifelikeness for the learner” (Walker & Soltis, 2009, p.21). Teachers should
create opportunities to study things that are meaningful and relevant to the
student’s life fostering intrinsic motivation. “The method by which the
learner works out these experiences, enterprises, and exercises, should be
such as calls for maximal self-direction, assumption of responsibility, of
exercise of choice in terms of life values” (p. 21).
To establish relevancy to student interest we can invite students to interact
with each other and their teachers about the lessons and units. In a
supportive environment where students can be true creative problem solvers,
students generate ideas and set goals that make for much more impactful
activities where students demonstrate the ability “to adapt intelligently to
changing conditions” (p. 22).
One of the greatest achievements a society can work toward is to help students
develop a deep love and respect for humanity and all the wonders of our world.
We can facilitate the process by creating an environment where ideas can be
shared openly and all students have a voice to express themselves. Teamwork
experiences where students work toward common goals and can feel empathy for
each others successes as well as their individual accomplishments allows them
to feel a part of something greater than themselves. Ultimately this can lead
them to a greater sense of respect for their teachers, their classmates, and
their schools. Clearly communicated expectations help students feel safe both
physically and emotionally and aid in the development of trusting
relationships. This deep understanding of trust and its worth can help
students understand what we can not make our students practice, kindness and
Teachers are the lead learners and must continue to grow and change along with
our world. I work to instill a passion for learning in my students and to help
them understand that this is an unending process which is rewarded when
commitment holds true. I feel the best educators are compassionate and
dedicated individuals who appreciate the opportunity to work with children. I
am incredibly fortunate to have that opportunity and I hope to earn that gift
continually on my unending journey of self improvement.
Walker, D. F. & Soltis, J. F. (2009). Curriculum and aims (5th ed.). NY:
Teachers College Press.