Matt Young was a high school senior when he discovered the career he wanted to pursue.
He was a “peer helper,” working with second graders and found he enjoyed it. Being a teacher, he thought, just may be the right job for him.
Young, a graduate of Winterset Senior High School, has been working in the Winterset school district for more than a decade in a variety of roles. He’s been a long-term substitute in the high school math department. He’s also taught different grade levels of P.E., as well as fifth and sixth grade science. He’s currently teaching fourth through eighth grade P.E.
“It’s a great job because every day is different,” he says. “And you get to interact with the kids,” as well as have an influence on their lives.
Becoming a physical education teacher seemed like a natural fit for Young, who played four sports in high school and baseball at Simpson College. It gives him the opportunity to not only teach kids about making healthy choices, but also helping instill healthy habits from a young age, he says.
“I think it’s very important to make kids realize it’s their life and health,” says Young, who is working to incorporate more knowledge on diet and healthy foods in his class.
P.E. also provides students a break from the structured environment as well as valuable social lessons, such as how to work as a team.
Physical education has changed somewhat since Young began teaching. Now, there’s increased focus on participation rather than competition, and fitness is coming more into play.
“The main goal is having fun while doing it” and providing kids with a variety of activities to encourage them to get involved, like line dancing and volleyball, he says. Young also plays music throughout class, which the students love.
Being a P.E. teacher also has its personal benefits for Young. He likes to be active, and his work gives him the chance to do that with his students. It’s also neat to be able to teach in the school district he grew up in.
This, Young says, is his “dream job.”