Last week, I launched (or relaunched) an all-new version of ThePhysicalEducator.com.
An update has been due for a long time, and I want to start off here by saying thank you for your patience.
In a nutshell, the website had been falling apart for a while. For the past few years, I've been putting out fires here and there to try to keep the site up and running. The only problem was that I was basically using a band-aid approach to fixing what was going wrong rather than facing the reality that the site needed to be rebuilt from the ground up.
About ten months ago, I started the redesign and rebuild process. My hope was that I would be able to complete the work by January, but that didn't pan out. A few months back, the site crashed completely, and malware did a pretty great job of wiping it from Google search results. #fun
Although those events definitely turned up the heat of the fire that was already lit under my butt, I decided to stick with the plan: rebuild the site from scratch, do all of the work myself so that I know every nook and cranny of both the front end and back end, and make sure that none of the issues that have plagued the site for the past few years ever happen again.
Back in June, I set a hard deadline for publishing the new version of the website on July 17th, 2023. I'm both very proud and very excited about that goal having been met.
Here's what you can expect from ThePhysicalEducator.com's new experience:
⚡️ A faster, much more stable website experience.
The new site is lightning-fast and looks great across every platform (e.g. desktop, tablet, mobile). It's powered by Amazon Web Services and Fastly, which means no more downtime and super quick loading times no matter where you are.
✅ A simplified user experience.
I believe that there should be zero friction between the link you click and the content you want to consume. That's why I intentionally designed each and every page to be as clutter-free as possible. Get in, learn what you came to learn, and get back to teaching.
🔍 Improved search and navigation.
One of the pieces of feedback I've received over the years is that teachers have had difficulty finding what they were looking for on the website. I heard all of those comments and made sure to prioritize search and navigation across the website.
🎉 Better discoverability.
Rebuilding the site from the ground up has given me a chance to think about how teachers stumble across the 12+ years of content on ThePhysicalEducator.com. From improving the site's SEO (especially after I lost most of my search rankings) to figuring out new ways of resurfacing past content for you, I hope your next visit leads you to a great idea you may have missed before.
The site is live, yet the work is not fully done. There are still some kinks I need to iron out and some pages I'm still building (e.g. "Courses", "Workshops", and "Guides"). That said, all of the parts of the site that you know and love are back up and accessible... just in time for the new school year.
🎉 Speaking of which... I've got some exciting news!
Since I left teaching in 2020 due to burnout, I've been on a quest to build the skills, knowledge, and capacities that could have prevented that situation from occurring. I've also decided to use this time to explore as many options as I can.
In my time away from teaching, I've done work as a content creator, instructional coach, and community manager. I've volunteered at our local public school as a member of the PTA and school advisory council. I helped run parts of the school's "Take Me Outside Day" and "Nova Scotia Walks Day" activities. I even designed and co-taught a four-week skateboarding program for middle school students. At a town level, I dabbled into what I now consider to be physical education's parallel universe: Parks and Recreation (which is how I landed my current part-time gig as my town's Active Transportation Facilitator).
I've truly enjoyed all of the new adventures this time away from teaching has allowed me to experience. However, each new opportunity only helped me confirm what I already knew to be true:
I love teaching.
Let me be clear: I don't always love being a teacher. There are still parts of our profession that drive me insane and that I want to see changed.
That said, getting to teach young people makes me come alive.
I never felt more like my full self than on the days I came back from working with kids. This realization is what led to me diving into the process of having my Quebec teacher certification recognized in Nova Scotia (which was a stupidly complicated process) and starting substitute teaching in schools in my area.
Although classroom teaching can be fun, and I actually enjoyed getting to use my French fluency to teach French Immersion here in the Annapolis Valley, nothing made me happier than being in the gym.
That's why I decided to apply to a few part-time physical education positions at local schools. I went through the interview process and found out the results a few weeks ago.
I'm very (VERY!) excited to be joining the Kings County Academy (KCA) faculty as a part-time physical education teacher (grades P-3) for the 2023-2024 school year!
KCA is our school here in town. It's where I've been volunteering, teaching, and leading activities for the past two years. I didn't think I had a chance at landing the position, and I still feel shocked that this dream is coming true.
What does this mean for you?
ThePhysicalEducator.com was originally launched for selfish reasons: to give me a public space where I could reflect on my teaching, gather as much feedback as possible, and accelerate my professional growth.
With the new version of the site now live and my teaching position secured, I'm excited to be getting back to that original focus of the site.
Reflection has played such a major role in my journey, and this new chapter of my career is sure to be reflection worthy. As I move forward with one foot in the physical education world and one in the parks and recreation world, I'm curious to see how partnerships between these two parallel universes can help me create experiences that are truly meaningful to the students I will get to teach.
I can't wait to get back to learning and growing alongside you!