#TeacherTuesday: Ellen Bridgewater, Elementary PE

Ellen Bridgewater | Elementary Physical Education   

For 21 years, Ellen Bridgewater has been teaching the importance of staying active and improving students’ health in District #7.  

She did not always want to be a teacher and didn’t originally follow that route even though both of her parents were physical education teachers and despite the fact that during her soccer career, her favorite jobs were the ones involving kids.  

“I actually started my degree in a dietitian program, but I ended up changing courses while in college. I kept gravitating towards the classes that interested me the most in the field of nutrition, but away from chemistry. And then I met some people who were physical education majors and decided that they were all the kind of people I enjoyed.” 

She began her career as a middle school teacher at Lincoln Middle School prior to the split and continued at Lincoln after the split. She also coached 7th grade volleyball during her time at Lincoln. Bridgewater then moved to the high school when she was coaching the varsity girl’s soccer team.  

After doing that for four years, Bridgewater resigned from coaching and began teaching at the grade school level and has been in most buildings at least once.  

Bridgewater said she loves elementary level kids because they are always excited about what she teaches them.  

“Even when I feel like I have a terrible lesson for the day, they leave the gym telling me how awesome it was!”  

She added that they also give lots of other confidence boosting hugs and pictures and notes about how much they love physical education.  

“Who doesn’t love that? They also make me feel like they are really learning and listening to me when they tell me things like how strong they feel afterwards or how they love to learn to exercise.” 

 A scooter unit is one of Bridgewater’s favorite things to teach.  

“Not only do the students love it, but I can keep every single student moving and busy. It is incredible how much muscular strength and endurance it takes. Even when they get tired, the kids tell me they don’t stop because it is so much fun!”  

Bridgewater added that scooters also allow for cooperative activities as the students must work together with partners, which brings in the social aspect of physical education that she likes to teach.  

When she’s not teaching Bridgewater stays busy with many hobbies, which include all kinds of exercises, crocheting, sewing and crafting and refinishing furniture as well.   

“I think it is also why I love to teach physical education so much – it keeps me busy!”