(WJHL) — Physical education class in middle school can conjure either great memories, or a time we’d just like to forget. A team of teachers at Indian Trail Intermediate School in Johnson City is showing students that gym is not only a blast but a great way to learn valuable life lessons.
The yelling and celebrating in the Indian Trail gym can look like a state championship final. It’s part of an intramural program at the school. Whether it’s the 7 a.m. intramurals, or gym class, the trio of teachers — Michael Smelser, Brittany Ciralsky (Miss C), and Kelly Lane — are in charge of it, and all share the students’ energy.
“So we get in here, we establish a framework and a foundation for our rules, and we will try to have the most absolute fun we possibly can,” Kelly Lane said. “Let’s have this 45 minutes be the absolute most fun part of your day.”
From pies in the face to bringing out their best performance, the fun also has another purpose: to teach students the value of T.H.I.S., which stands for Teamwork, Hustle, Integrity, and Sportsmanship…skills that are useful even outside of the gym.
“Maybe you don’t love sports,” Lane said. “What does teamwork look like on a group project? So, everything we’re doing, we’re trying to find a way to make these kids see that the real world applications of, yeah, we’re in here playing Crazy Kickball, and we know your team just won, but how do you celebrate that? How are you a good winner? How could you possibly be a good loser?”
And at a time when kids can be self-conscious, the teachers use their judgment-free zone to encourage students to let loose and be themselves.
“We played Crazy Kickball recently,” Lane said. “We start every round with a dance-off. And at the beginning, you do see some of the kids just feeling it out a little bit. But, when we start getting in there, when Miss C starts singing on the microphone, Coach Smelser just starts going crazy. Before you know it, the whole class is going and we’re giving bonus points out.”
And the team hopes the fun, and lessons learned, stick with the students beyond Indian Trail.
“We’re going to try to get the absolute best version, of themselves,” Lane said. “So that’s we have always found ourselves on, it’s something we firmly believe in, and that we’ll always do.”