A day in the life of physical education teacher Kelly Gallick
Kelly Gallick ’99, M.S. ’06, earned her bachelor’s in physical education and her master’s in kinesiology from Illinois State. A Streator native, Gallick played collegiate softball and basketball at Illinois Central College before transferring to Illinois State. Her experiences as an athlete in both high school and college affirmed her desire to pursue a teaching career in physical education.
Gallick credits student teaching for guiding her towards middle schoolers. After graduation, she worked at Unit 5’s Chiddix Junior High where in addition to teaching she jumped in feet first to coach softball, track, and basketball! She appreciated the caring and supportive physical education staff while she was learning the ropes in her first job. Later she was hired at Unity School District 7 in Tolono to teach elementary physical education and be the head girls’ high school basketball coach for eight years. When a position opened at Unit 5’s Oakdale Elementary she was fortunate to return to the Bloomington-Normal area in elementary physical education.
The life of a physical educator is always an adventure in Gallick’s mind. During the day she teaches 12 25-minute long physical education classes across grades kindergarten through fifth. Being able to set up equipment for different grades between classes with no transition time requires creative thinking and exceptional time management skills. Staying current is also a must because instructional strategies constantly change. This is especially true when incorporating technologies such as heart monitors and pedometers.
A unique benefit to the job is the six to eight miles the teachers walk during the day. Seeing children progress and enjoy their experience in physical education is another reward. Gallick says kids are willing to try things during class and are not yet caught up in doubting themselves. She also has high regard for Unit 5 School District in terms of resourcefulness and collaborations.
Reflecting on her preparation at Illinois State, Gallick credited her professors Margo Coleman, Diana Jones, Dale Brown, Mary Henninger, and Deborah Garrahy with her success. They provided enjoyable yet challenging learning environments for undergraduate and graduate students. Hands on experience, a hallmark of the program, made learning fun. When she graduated, Gallick felt confident and prepared for what to expect on the first day on the job.
As a teacher thinking outside the box is crucial especially with no equipment budget. Gallick has had several grants approved to bridge the gap for new equipment. She has also coached several junior high teams which made appearances at state tournaments and a high school team which advanced to the Elite 8 in basketball!
Gallick offers sage advice to future physical education teachers.
“Be involved as much as you can, ask questions, be accountable, and never stop learning,” she said. “Don’t become stagnant, and put your phone down!”