Jace Ferguson grew up on a cattle ranch by a small town called Ponoka in Alberta, Canada. He always had a love for movement and being active. As a child you would find him running around outside playing with his brothers with no regard if it was a hot summer day or a frozen winter morning. This love for movement transitioned into a passion for physical education and athletics during his school years which motivated him to become a physical educator. In 2006 this dream came true, and after one day of unemployment, he was diving head first into a rewarding career. After 9 years teaching in Alberta and working with the Health and Physical Education Council of Alberta, Jace and his wife decided to seek the adventure of international teaching and landed in Dubai where he is currently teaching a sport science/leadership course and taking on a pastoral role for or senior high students at Universal American School. Let’s find out what he keeps in his #PhysEd Bag.
1. Tech Needs of the Day
In today’s educational practice one would be lost without their trusty MacBook Air, iPad, portable charger and all the cables to connect to various things (that reminds me, where is my dongle?!). This year I have made the professional challenge to go completely paperless through using google classroom and all it’s supporting programs. So far it’s been an awesome transition and every day I’m learning new things! The implications for effective student feedback and reflective learning are huge!!
The iPad has been a central fixture with my practice since it came out a few years ago. Attendance is a breeze and easy to access, Coaches Eye is a record/rewind/draw feedback tool for students I have used to develop skill mastery and self-evaluation skills in students, iStat Volleyball and Coaches Clipboard have revolutionized my coaching practice with my varsity teams as it provides feedback on skill execution and calculates it into number based feed back, Fitbuilder is an excellent app to build and share fitness programs with students and of course Apple Music and YouTube to bring the tunes to class! Lately, it has also doubled as a video conference tool using Skype and makes it easy to connect with other professionals, family and friends while on this adventure overseas.
2. ID Card/Keys/Wallet and Lucky Loonie
After teaching for just over a decade I STILL get asked by parents “where is Mr. Ferguson” or “you look too young to be a teacher” so sometimes I have to point to my school ID and say that’s me! The secret to youth is love what you do and do what you love and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Beings we only have one gym space and one indoor multipurpose space, you are outside a lot throughout the year. Usually, it’s around mid-20s to low 30s and always sunny so you have to be prepared. This summer I picked up probably one of my favorite hats and decided that I had to start bringing this to school for those extra sunny days. Nothing is worse than teaching with minor heat stroke. One item I never leave home without is my water bottle. I am always thirsty and need water on me at all times. When I go one day without filling and emptying that bottle multiple times it shows! Stay hydrated my friends!!
4. Fitness Supplements / New Father Pick Me Up
Throughout the day I love fitting in a workout. Nothing is better than just putting your headphones and decompressing from the day by lifting heavy things. Lately, I have also been using multiple supplements to help with my energy levels throughout the day. In October we welcomed our baby girl into the world and said goodbye to sleeping in! The day really grinds to a stop around 1 pm on the days you’ve been woken up at 430am for feedings, giggles, and snuggles.
5. Emirates Airlines Baggage Tag
One thing I quickly found with teaching in Dubai is you will be flying a lot! There are school trips, conferences, and family traveling opportunities that are easily accessible. I never thought I would get to see this part of the world and thankful that my passion for physical education has brought me here and connected me with people who I would never have met! It has also opened my eyes to the importance of quality physical education and the desire for students to move. My favorite travel memory so far is walking through a village in Sri Lanka and coming across kids playing cricket in the street using a broken lawn chair as wickets, broken 2×4 as a bat and their eager requests to come and play. Reminded me of the days playing street hockey with my cousins!
6. Pyramid of Excellence Diagram
I can’t remember where I found it, but it was during my masters’ thesis research where I came across this image and I am always bringing it back up with my students, athletes, and professionals. My struggle as a professional is watching people settling for “just ok”. Excellence and potential is a process and this is an excellent diagram outlining the roles of philosophy, competition/application, practice/learning and knowing your ultimate goal.
7. Research Paper
Yep, I am a research geek and turns out that my daughter loves getting it read to her in the mornings. Oh, the giggles she let out when I would say Physical Literacy, conceptualize and competency. This paper is Dr. Dean Dudleys “A Conceptual Model of Observed Physical Literacy”. Definitely worth checking out as it gave me many lightbulb moments around program design, planning, assessment, and feedback.
8. Deodorant and Sunscreen
No one likes a smelly teacher, and unfortunately for me when I participate with students I sweat a lot! Maybe it’s the warm, humid climate! This definitely helps me keep that professional edge when I have a meeting later in the day when earlier I would randomly join in a PE class in session.
9. Snacks (Fresh carrots, coconut chunk and protein bar is on the menu today)
Students will attest to the fact that I am always eating and having a grocery store right beside the school makes that part of a balanced healthy lifestyle easy! The bad thing about having snacks is the students know I always have food but one of my most powerful students’ conversations all started with taking the time to sit and enjoy a snack with a student.
10. Under Armor Duffle Bag AKA Fergs Bag
Without this, I couldn’t carry around all of this gear!! Lately, I’ve been exploring upgrading to the Oakley “Kitchen Sink” just because that would be the only thing missing!
11. Fergs Star Wars Towel
It’s no secret to my students that I am a bit of a geek. My favorite comment from a student is “for being such a PE teacher, you sure are a big geek!”. This came from a grade 1 student and I have never laughed so hard in my life!!
12. Engagement gear (under armor shirt, Lululemon shorts, 2x socks, bright shoes and my bag of Qualo rings)
A favorite part of my day is randomly participating in a PE class, a great training session in the fitness center or playing some adult community volleyball.
This shirt is my favorite to wear because my students and athletes know that I hate the statement on the shirt. Athletes, coaches, and parents all focus on the big W and overlook the importance of being successful. If you focus on being successful and excellence, winning is a by-product. Lately one of my athletes used my quote in our awards day speech and totally stole the focus of my speech!
The Qualo rings are an inside joke between my wife and I. Since being married I have shattered one ring, kids have punched my ring multiple times during a fist bump and I have a fear of getting it caught on something when I am out playing volleyball and it gets in the way when I am playing baseball/slowpitch. So for the safety of everyone she bought me silicone wedding rings in various colors to wear!
13. Knee Sleeve and athletic tape
I’ve recently come to terms that I am not as young as I think I am. Some days the stress and strain of an active lifestyle and some injuries along my physical literacy journey really take its toll. There are two choices, it can stop you or you can stop/manage it. I just love being active and movement is such a huge part of my life. The passion for an active lifestyle and some injury management knowledge help me stay active and hopefully this passion can inspire my students and my baby girl to be physically active for life.
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