Stillwater gym teacher who inspired children to continue loving gym class during pandemic, Teacher of the Year

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STILLWATER, NJ – When COVID-19 shut down school, for many children in New Jersey it also shut down physical activity both inside and outside of school. With months of park closures, remote learning and pauses with many private sports and activity programs, many children essentially shut down physical activity too.

At the Stillwater Elementary School, one teacher, Meghan Radiner, a physical education teacher managed to show her students how to continue to set goals and motivated them to remain engaged in physical activity during the pandemic.

As an elementary physical education and health teacher, one of the most important skills I have had to master is learning how to motivate my students, Radimer said in a feature published by the NJEA entitled, ‘Pandemic Pe‘.  Fortunately, as a lifelong athlete, I understand the physical, and sometimes mental, obstacles that can get in the way of my students enthusiastically participating in our planned activities.

Radimer said when the pandemic hit, learning how to teach physical education virtually was a challenge.

“When the pandemic prevented in-person instruction last spring, it became difficult to connect with my students. After all, when I graduated from college in 2007, I never thought that I would be teaching physical education online. I had to draw on different ideas and strategies to connect with and motivate my students,” she said. “I felt like a first-year teacher again, trying to come up with fun and engaging lessons that my students could do at home even though I was not able to see them. I wanted the activities to be fun and not just another assignment that they had to complete.”

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In September, she was named 2020 Sussex County Teacher of the Year.

Even though times have been tough this year for her students, Radimer tells them not to give up on their dreams.

“I encourage them to set big goals for themselves. They may make it to the NFL or the NBA someday,” Radimer said. “Who knows? I’m not going to tell them they can’t. It might be one of my students that I see on the big screen one day. Or maybe they want to get faster, stronger, or healthier—I make sure they know all of their goals are important!”

You can read more about Ms. Radimer’s story here.