June 2, 2023

The Scenic Route To Joyful Teaching w/ Barb Borden

Episode Description

✨ Every now and then, you meet someone who reminds you how much fun it is to have fun while you teach.

I've had the opportunity to connect with Barb Borden over the years and gain a window into her teaching through her Twitter presence. Without a doubt, Barb's teaching brings so much joy, laughter, and fun to her students lives.

After connecting with Barb to learn more about how she has successfully accessed grant money to fund her PE program over the years, I quickly realized that her story was one that I wanted more teachers to hear.

WARNING: your cheeks will most likely be sore after this episode from smiling so much!

Episode Links

Read The Blog Post

Time Stamps

00:00 - Introduction

03:40 - How Barb became a teacher.

08:42 - How Barb built a Jungle Library

20:08 - How Barb surfs the change wave

25:08 - Barb the Tech Ed teacher

37:48 - How Barb found her PE groove

42:39 - How Barb found her teacher voice

49:39 - How Barb continues to find joy in the journey

Guest Information

Barb Borden is a physical education teacher from Frankfort, Illinois. She currently teaches K-2 physical education at Grand Prairie Elementary school.

Follow Barb on Twitter

Episode Transcript

Please Note: Episode transcript are automatically generated using AI. They may or may not be fully accurate.

Joey Feith  0:00  
Hey everybody, this is Joey. Welcome back to the phys ed show. I hope you're ready to smile and laugh today because we have an amazing episode, I am so excited to be able to share this conversation that I had with the one, the only Barb Borden. If you don't follow Barb, Barb is a physical education teacher out of Illinois and, in my opinion, one of the most joyful people to follow on Twitter.

Barb and I connected earlier this year to put together a small interview around how to write grant proposals and how to get grants for your program. And through that conversation, I want that discovering that Barb has had an incredibly like magical journey into her role as a physical education teacher. And I decided that we needed to go deeper into this and we need to share us with more people because I left that conversation feeling so fired up and just so happy. And I know that that's the kind of feeling that a lot of people need right now. So I'm glad that Barb agreed to do this interview with me and that she's willing to share her story with all of you here.

Now just before we dive into the conversation here, I need to plug visit you the membership based professional growth community that I quietly launched back in June. And I've been dedicating most of my energy and attention to ever since. So for years teacher have asked me to consider starting a membership site for the physical educator.com To make it easier to access the resources that I create and share they're now like most things I do, I took my time exploring options and intentionally designing something that was innovative. And that tied to my vision of every child on the planet having access to effective, meaningful physical education. Phys Ed Hughes purpose is to help you unlock and grow your potential to be an outstanding physical educator. And I'm so incredibly passionate about the project and the community that we're building there. And I hope, I hope that you will consider joining us on campus. There are a variety of membership options, each with its own set of benefits. And these benefits include everything from access to exclusive posts and content, members only events and workshops, a brand new games database, and of course, instant access to all of the premium resources that you find on the fiscal hq.com. If you'd like to learn more, and see if visit us a good fit for you visit the physical educator.com/membership. Again, that's the physical edge care.com/membership.

All right, let's dive into today's episode with Barb Borden.

Alright, so Barb, how you doing?

Barb Borden  2:43  
Good, how are you?

Joey Feith  2:44  
I'm doing great. So I just wanted to give the listeners a bit of a background on how this conversation came to be. So a couple of months ago, before the break, I started bringing back this how we teach series that I used to do on the blog. And I wanted to do in video form and keep it really short focus on one topic at a time. And all this stemmed from a PE chat where you had mentioned different ways that you had gone about fundraising for your phys ed program. And I thought, you know, it'd be so great to kind of talk to Barb about how she scored all these grants. So we still time we had a conversation. And then I learned so much about your story. And I just thought it was so incredible. And it was so fun. And it just like I was telling you before we started recording here, it just explained why there's so much magic in what you do that I was like, more people need to hear the bar board and story. So I kind of I kind of want to dive into that if that's okay.

Barb Borden  3:37  
Sure. Yeah, I don't know how many listeners you'll have.

Joey Feith  3:40  
But Me neither, but I record these for myself.

So let's go back to when you first started teaching because if I remember right from our previous conversation, you kind of had like a funny like entry way into like your your education career. So you can you tell us a little bit about what was your experience in sport? And how did that kind of eventually lead to you finding your way back into education?

Barb Borden  4:06  
Okay, yeah, it is a crazy kind of long story. I'll try to do the Reader's Digest version 14. I was in and out of schools, and really different schools. I was like, I don't know what I want to do. I was in. I played college volleyball. So I was a division one athlete and they wouldn't let you be an athletic trainer, because the hours were too intense. So they were like, you can't be a division one athlete and a trainer will work and I really kind of had my heart on being a trainer. So I was like, oh gosh, okay, well, so then I went into exercise science physiology, took some coaching as a minor, and then I did not finish and I ended up after volleyball. I ended up going to another school and I was like, I am going to get my athletic training degree. So I went through the whole program, and it was getting almost close to the test time, and I just realized that like, you know, our head trainer always had his wife would be coming in with their two littles and he was never home. And I thought, how, how could I have a family and be a good athletic trainer, like, really get to the top. And I was like, I don't know that this is the right path for me, because I really knew that I wanted a family and kids and I was like, I kind of don't see that happening in that field. So again, I was kind of back to square one. I'm like, I don't know what I want to do. But in in that time, I was coaching volleyball. And my friend was a teacher who was also coaching on the same club team as me. And she she was also a teacher. She's like, you should get your teaching degree. And I was like, All right, yeah. Sure. That sounds good. So that's what I did. And I went to school, got my teaching degree, but I did not get a PE degree. I got it in elementary education, with like, you know, middle school endorsement and an English endorsement, whatever. And so I started my first job as a differentiated specialist. And the funny thing is, when I got that job, I'm like, what, what is what is that?

I remember interviewing, and they were like, Hey, we got a position for differentiated specialists. I'm like, oh, okay, I got the job. I didn't even know what it was. It's basically they got rid of the gifted program. And you know, they were like, it was more of a, you're pushing into the classroom showing teachers how to different differentiate lessons and that kind of stuff, which was kind of funny, because it was a brand new teacher. And I'm like, Okay, so, and the fact that me of all people trying to teach, like, gifted kids, you know, I'm like, Okay, I like they're teaching me, I remember, the kids, they were so smart. And I'm like, interesting, you know, when they ask me a question, I'm like, That is fabulous. You should research that I'm not gonna give you the answer. Because I'm like, I don't even know the answer what I don't even know what these guys are talking about. They're so smart. So I only did that for a year and ended up. My husband and I got pregnant pretty quickly. And and so after that, I took an 11 year hiatus, because I had for four kids all together, and I just kept having kids and didn't go back. So then, it was about time to go back my husband's like, Okay, enough with these children. Are you ever gonna go back to work? And I was kind of like, I guess. So. But in that 11 years, things had really changed, right? I mean, no kidding, and Common Core and all that. So I'm like, wow, I need to really research what's been going on. Because, you know, I'm good at making mac and cheese. I can make chicken nuggets. But I'm like, other than that, I don't know what I can bring to the table of education anymore. So I applied, actually, at the school that I'm at, I played a bunch of places, but where I'm at they, they liked me. And they were like, you know, we had some other candidates. And, you know, you unfortunately, we didn't give you the, you know, the second grade position. But we have this library clerk open. And I'm thinking like a library clerk, like a guy where you know, somebody's wearing a hat, like a visor, and they're back in the, you know, archives, like with the, you know, card catalog, I'm like, what, okay, that sounds pretty lame.

Joey Feith  8:42  
When you told me that you got this library job. Like, if I had to make a list of professions that bar board can do, or that Barb Borden, personality be suited for librarian would be so far off.

But then you started telling me about, like, so you got the job as the school librarian, and you got into your library. And you went about it in your own, like, amazing way. So, when you were describing to me what you're doing with your library, it just kind of blew my mind. So tell us a little bit about like, how did you end up turning this library into this, like, Miss Frizzle style space?

Barb Borden  9:22  
Yeah, well, okay. So when they when I heard I didn't get the job, you know, and that they offered this, I was pretty upset. Like, honestly, I was like, I had been, you know, getting kind of knocked around a few times, because I was like, you know, I just wasn't, there were more qualified people out there that, you know, I'd been out for a while. So I was crying. And my first my son who was six at the time, he was in first grade. And he's like, you know, Mama, if you take this job, because I kept saying, I just wanted a classroom, you know, I'm like, crying is one of my own classroom. And he said, if you take this job, you'll have the biggest class in the whole school? And I was like, dang, you're smart.

Joey Feith  10:05  
You should be like, gifted class!

Barb Borden  10:07  
Yeah. He's like me now. So I was like, Yeah, you know what I'm gonna start doing like this amazing stuff. And I started just revamping the library. And I turned it into like this kind of jungle theme where, you know, I mean, I got these big carpet roll remnants and made this big giant to raft and a zebra and put all these vines and I mean, the whole thing, and I like blew it up. And then, you know, people always say I'm a little bit extra, which is a little true.

I know. I was like, hey, that's the only way to be. So then I started bringing some animals in. I asked, I was like, Can I can I get some fish? Can I do this? Well, then pretty soon it was like, now I've got some frogs, I, I've got some geckos. Now we've got tadpoles, like I had all these different creatures, and I ended up writing a grant to get more animals in the classroom. So pretty soon we had chameleons, the crested geckos, a tortoise, swimming turtles, I mean, there were 13 different habitats in the library. It was insane. So this is this is kind of how our conversation started last night, because that initial grant that you wrote, if I remember correctly, it was for PetSmart, right? Yes, it was. So you wrote this grant? Yeah. So how did you? How did you go about like finding this brand, and then you just because I think like being able, I think for especially teachers who are young, in their career teachers who have never written a grant before, the process of writing a grant to try and raise funds for your program can be like, really intimidating, for sure. Whereas you just kind of went with it. And like, it just kind of like snowballed from there, where you just gained all this, like, the skills and this ability to try and fundraise.

Joey Feith  12:01  
So how did you find the grant? What was that process? Like to like, kind of, like, write it all together? And how did that eventually lead to you continue to build the bar board and jungle library?

Barb Borden  12:13  
Well, so the PetSmart grant that I looked up, like, animals in the classroom, and Petsmart kind of popped up. And they were like, Oh, we have a grant, that we you know, there's certain animals that you can ask for, you know, like, obviously, you can't ask for, you know, dogs or cats, that kind of stuff. It was more like small gators. Yeah. Right. So I got that. And I forget how much it wasn't, it was a small amount. And I remember thinking like, man, it would be really cool to add some different things like some other more exotic type animals. And there were some moms that would come into the library when I was, you know, that would help volunteer. And they were on the Education Foundation, which is are kind of like our PTO now, not really like a PTO, but I'll just like the foundation, I mean, I Yeah, right, calling it but so and they said, you know, we we grant teacher written grants, if all you got to do is write one, and I was like, well, like, what do I put in there? And they're like, there's a form on our teacher web or on the school website that you just kind of fill out and answer the questions and put the budget in there and let them know what you want it while our Education Foundation does a pretty cool Casino Night, they raise a lot of money. Right? Like, I mean, it's it's very cool. And they've they've raised, I mean, they've given teachers like smart boards, different kinds of seating and just you name it, they've they've funded so many different things to the pedal bikes that are like those pedal desks. And, I mean, holy cow, you could probably go on our website and look at some of the stuff that the foundation has granted. So anyway, I went and I was like, alright, I'll give it a shot. Well, the moms who volunteered really liked me and they were on the board. So it kind of started there. Like where, you know, and that's what's so important too is making those connections with the parents. That is huge. And teachers you know, like just getting that you know, that connection with them and and I think that's really important. So I think if I if I can just interject to like absolutely, like listening, listening to what you are creating there in the library and seeing how other teachers have gone about too annoying from like my own experience too. I think when you're insanely passionate about something and your you show that you really care about it and just trying to like, infuse these kids lives with as much magic as possible. That's like your ultimate hook to getting like yeah, like chat.

And I think especially like when you have an opportunity, like, you know, you're working in the library, oftentimes, like law schools I've worked at parents have come in to help out volunteer in the library and whatnot, like, it's such a great opportunity for you to build those connections. So it's important to try and think of like, okay, what are some ways that I can get parents involved so that they can come see it in action. And see like, this is, this is what I dedicate myself to, this is what what I really care about. And these kids are the reason why I go about it. I think that when you you put yourself in that kind of position, it becomes easier for parents to be like, hey, like, there's something special happening in there in the library, and we should really be supporting it.

Joey Feith  15:39  
And I just wanted to like, it's, it's funny, this is, so my kids in in pre primary here at our local school, and I'm on the PTA. And I'm, I'm sitting on the School advisory council, too. So I'm seeing a lot of like, behind the scenes stuff from like, a parent's perspective, which I've never seen before, because I've always been like a teacher in schools, right? Like, parents are just like hungry to be helping teachers, like we get, there was a night where we sat down and was like, the grant night, and literally, anybody who wrote anything, like money, yeah, like, they were just like, they were excited to be able to give out this money that they fundraise, because that's the reason they're fundraising for it. I feel like a lot of times, like, I would be that person who would sit down and like, they'd say, like, go check out the form on the website, and I would sit there and I would do all this research, and I put graphs together on or like, submit this, like, 75 page document. And, you know, like, I probably get the money that I asked for, but like a lot of the grants that we were giving out the other night, there's there was like, a couple people did like what I would do, and then a couple other people were like three sentences, and they also got their money. So yeah, I think like, if, if you're willing to just shoot that shot, if you're willing to like, have people see what you're doing. I think that goes a long way. So I just wanted to interject, because I think it's important that they got to see what you're doing, why you cared about it. And then obviously, they just want to support you.

Barb Borden  16:59  
Like, they're just like, Yeah, you got to jump through these hoops, because that's how it happens. But like, don't worry about it. Obviously, they're gonna get you. Yeah, animals for your library. Yeah. So I mean, and I still run that program. I mean, it's a little bit crazy. But I will tell you like, especially in a K to building, you've got first day school jitters with new kindergarteners, you go into the library, say, Hey, you're gonna get to see Stella, do you want to come and feed her? I mean, it is a different swimming style as an animal, right. Stella is our tortoise. Because I'm here at school, so I could I could take you on a tour. So yeah. But it's helped with some of those behavior. Kids who like some of the kids are like, well, you know, if you be they have behavior charts, the social workers use them too. Because they can say, well, you know, if you fill this chart, you can come and feed the animals. Now, I will say, that is actually one of the things that is bid on, on the at the Casino Night. So that's how I keep it going. And I feed the animals, because people might be like, Well, how do you? How do you maintain that? There is a lot to maintain. So I still now I have zookeepers, and once a week, I take a kid during like, my kind of lunch ish. And we go and take care of the animals do whatever, you know, I don't have them clean anything, but they probably would. They, they, they love it. And then on Fridays, I let them have Stella at their desk, in a kind of a big tub. And the whole class loves it. And the teacher actually benefits because usually I say, you guys are gonna have to be like really quiet. Otherwise, you're gonna, you know, scare Stella and then, you know, on a Friday, they're quiet. Come on. So it works out. I mean, it's been it's been really great. So that's what got the ball rolling for all my, all my other grants. Because now crazy enough, I started doing science experiments, because, you know, I was like, Wouldn't it be cool if we tried this? So I mean, I wasn't your average librarian. I was always like, pushing the envelope. Like, I want to try doing this. And so I was doing science experiments. We made a volcano. I mean, it was like it was I was totally Miss Frizzle for sure. And even with the lizard.

So I mean, it was fun. So it only made sense when our our technology teacher retired, and she was amazing. And I remember being like good luck filling her shoes, because she's amazing. And then it was like, the next day they're like, Hey, how would you like to be the new technology teacher? I'm like, what? And you know, rolling with me the way I roll. I'm always like, what is it okay, like, I mean, I never Know what I'm doing? I people might think I do.

Joey Feith  20:08  
Talking last time I brought up like, yeah, my brother is very much of the same kind of teacher that you are, we're, you know, like, I like to think like, I love teaching and I'm so excited to like, be working with kids again. And I missed that. But I was very much so like a, um, like a mental kind of teacher, like I was always thinking about what it was doing, thinking about and even like, like the caring and all that, obviously that comes from your heart, but like, I'm trying to like think about, okay, like, how do I nurture these really.And some people, it just kind of flows effortlessly. And I think that's what kind of caught my attention. Last time we were talking, I was like,you have this, this, I'm going to keep coming back to the term magical because I I believe it's that my brother James has does the same thing where it's like, it just comes out so effortlessly. And I want to talk about like, what you were saying they're like, that's just how I roll like, again, I'm the kind of person who would like somebody to say like, Okay, we're gonna do this. And I'd be like thinking like breaking it down thinking. Whereas like, a bar board or the world or like my brother James, in the world, whatnot, something presents like, Yeah, let's do it. So where do you? Where do you think that attitude comes from? Because being having that kind of flexibility as a teacher is incredibly important to like being able to get joy out of your job, and to be able to go about it. And there's like a stress free as a kind of way as possible. So how do you think you develop that ability to just kind of like, roll with whatever the world throws at you? And kind of like surf it like, because it really, it really sounds like that's, like, I honestly feel like like, tomorrow, they can say you're not teaching Phys Ed, you're going to space and be like, Okay, where's my backpack? .

Barb Borden  21:55  
Yeah, um, that is a really good question. I you know, what I honestly, think it has to do with playing sports for me. Because, you know,it's like, your, your, you want to be that player that can lift your team, and you want to be able to change on a dime. I mean, I think it's honestly for I think it's because I played sports. I mean, that's all I can really think about that. And I've just, I'm a, I'm a pretty positive person. Like, it's, I have a hard time with negative people. You know, it's really an I don't know who said it, but I feel like I've heard Ben Landers say this, but about the people that you surround yourself by, yeah, you know, I think it really matters. And I just, I've always tried to find my people who are like minded and feel the same way. I mean, it's okay to be, you know, you don't? Obviously, you can't just almost always be Mary Poppins, right. But yeah, people are gonna vent.

Joey Feith  23:11  
It's a very natural thing to like, yeah, that time to like, vent and mope a bit, but, right, to not use that as like, the lens through which you look at everything. And I think that's a trap that like, a lot of people, including myself, like, like, before I left teaching, looking back now, I recognize that I was stuck in that trap of like, looking at everything through that lens of like,there's always more and this is impossible. And, and I wasn't always like that. So I think that's the difference there is, you can have that minute when you need it. Yeah, but don't like put those glasses on and just look at everything like that all the time.

Barb Borden  23:50  
Right? I think too. I mean, because you know, it and like, I hate to say I didn't have the greatest career of my life, you know, and I had a lot of things were like, Hey, you're not going to be in this position anymore. We're going to change it to this position or whatever. Instead, because I knew like it made a difference. Like if you're gonna have an attitude with your coach, I mean, forget it, you're done. Right? So I always tried to be like, okay, you know what, I'm going to be the best at this then that like, no one. I just never wanted anybody to get me down. You know, like, I was like, no one is I I control myself, like how I react, right? So like, if you're going to be like, if this is not going to be a good situation, I'm gonna make it. I'm gonna make it good for myself. Like, I don't know. So I think I like just my, and the fact that I Sorry, I'm totally like, no, it's supposed to be in my brain on my path. But I think because I've been knocked down a few times, and things haven't gone like the way and I'm like, Alright, I'm gonna try this or hey, let's just do that. So I mean, I know I haven't taken a straight path and gone right to where I want to be, but I'm on my way. Now finally,

Joey Feith  25:08  
as I said, last time, you're taking the scenic route taking the scenic route, it's more fun. I think I think, you know, you can't control what happens to you, but you can always control how you react to it. Yeah. And I think that's like an important thing to remember that, you know, things are gonna happen, you're going to experience failures, at times, things are not going to work out the way that you wanted it to, uh, you know, you're gonna get knocked on your butt at times. But if you're able to be like, well, you know, like, and this too, and it's okay, and just roll with it, like, we're gonna make the best of it. Yeah, I think I think a lot of people, including myself,underestimate how important that kind of mindset is, in terms of being able to continuously find joy in what you do. So that you're able to continue to share joy with others.

So, so you get into this, this tech job.So I'm just accepting the fact now that like, I'm not like asking, like, what were your qualifications get, I'm just assuming that you're being put into positions because people know you're gonna create something for them. So tell me a little bit about like, how you got into this tech job? And how did you roll with it? What did you do with it once you were there?

Barb Borden  26:22  
So well, one of the biggest things Oh, my gosh, we had to I had to teach typing. And I'm like, Are you serious? Like, first of all, I never took a typing class. So I didn't know how to type. I'm like, No, I gotta teach them. So you know, I made up these crazy YouTube videos with Oh, my God, look me up, you'll be like, what is? But again, that was where, like, I got the parent by and they thought these videos were hilarious. They're like, Oh, my God, they tried to get me on Ellen.

Never happened. But anyway, um, so you know, then in technology, I started the grants again, I was like, hey, wouldn't it be cool if we got these robots that we could code? So I started coding, and they loved that. And I loved it. The kids loved it. I mean, it was great. So I got these little Ozobots. Then I got these little Finch robots that were the kids were coding with. And then, and I was loving it. It was fun, you know?

And how are you figuring this stuff out as you're going? Because he was like, you? Were you just like playing around with and be like, yeah, where were you? So you're just like, goofing around with it. And he was like, Oh, this would be awesome. Because we'd love this.

Yes, totally. They were like you need help with a curriculum for and I'm like I do. All right. Well, I don't even know where to go like, Oh, okay, teaching computers to kindergarten. Oh, my God. And let me tell you, like typing how to Google into Google? No joke like, so. The kids, we used to do a game or they used to do these math facts on the computers. And we used to have computers all around the school. Like they were in the hallway and stuff. And then we had the tech lab. And then, which is where I was, and all the screens were blue with the little Ctrl plus Alt plus Delete? Yeah. Okay. First of all, no kid knows what that is. Nobody. You're like, what just happened? My computer's broke everybody's hands. My computer's broken. I'm like, Oh, my God, like and get, you know, 25 kindergarteners in a computer lab. I'm like, so I ended up getting these red solo cups, like a little and, but it looked like I was having a kegger in the, you know, every day.

So anytime they had a question I said, Put your cup up on top of your computer. So then I know when I don't have a million hands. And I can just go put the cup down. Maybe somebody who knows what they're doing can help you but I started that Ctrl Alt Delete video. Oh my god, I'm wearing like a big afro with a singing the Michael Jackson like control. I can't even get my voice right now. But I did like bunny ears and bunny ears and a disco finger. And then you push the two. Oh my gosh, it's the but the kids knew it. Yeah, I walked down the hall and they'd be doing this fast math. And they're like, that one kid would be like, I can't get this on. And I hear the other kid. Tell him Oh, you got to do bunny ears and a disco finger. I was like, No way. Like, so yes. stupid stuff like that. I mean, that was it was the little things that they needed to know how to turn the computer on. So it was like, Oh my gosh, I'm not even really teaching any real skills. You know? You're in a cater to school to like I think that's important for people listening to remember all these kids you're teaching or cater to.

So we did a lot of I did a lot of it was called Wixey. It was a really cool program. But we would do things we did like animal animal interviews, I had them recording their voice. So we We're doing a lot of like, cool things. And that's when I was like, Oh, the robots, let's get some coding going. So yeah, a lot of it was just me kind of, you know, flying by the seat of my pants really, I mean, this is on recording with it. It's whatever, that they're fine with it probably.

Joey Feith  30:20  
Well, like, again, like, there's so many parallels to like my brother, but I remember when, when, when James started teaching at a school up the street from mine. He took over like a grade four class, and he was like, all like, I can't come out tonight. I was like, why I was like, I'm building a workbench in my classroom. I'm like, why? He's like, because I'm teaching my kids how to use power tools. So they can build stuff. I don't like why he's supposed to be teaching like English and like science or math. And he's like, Oh, because like, the kids will love it. I was like, like, his kids were building like pinball machines, like full on functional pinball machines, like all this, like, insane stuff and everything. And I think that like, when you're able to, to create those kinds of experiences that are obviously like, super memorable, that are kinda like issue really letting us do this. Yeah, I think that's how you especially like, at those younger ages, too. That's how you get them hooked into like, holy smokes, like I can actually learn this stuff. And like, we can have fun with this. And you're able to remember, like, I would so prefer to remember like, like, two fingers and Bunny, oh, one finger and bunny ears, whatnot, to like, then know, like, where the Ctrl, Alt and delete keys are on my keyboard? Like, I think that's like, when you're able to the sky's learning as fun. Right, then it winds up sticking? And it just it makes a lot more sense.

Barb Borden  31:48  
I don't know why. So many lessons.Anyway, so

Joey Feith  31:53  
Okay, so. So, you, you you spend time working as a school tech teacher? Yeah. And when did you when did you go from that to phys ed.

Barb Borden  32:05  
So the PE teacher here went to be principal over at the middle school or the intermediate. And when that job when that open, I was like, I kind of just throw it out to the principal. I was like, Man PE would be pretty cool. And she's like, well, youyou know, do you have any experience in in PE and then I well, and I said, Well, no, but you know, I did go to school for Exercise Science and she kinesiology, whatever she goes, Well, you know, give me your transcripts, or let me see your whatever transcripts, and I was like, okay, and I turn them into her. And then she's like, looking at them. She's going through, she's like, You had Adapted PE I'm like, yeah, and she's like, Okay, I have everybody coming interview. And then the rest is history. So, but I have a funny story, because I wasn't really, I just got my endorsement. Like literally, like, just, and I thought it was a joke. I thought I was being punked because the lady there told me. She was like, I can't believe my daughter is being graded in PE and her grade point averages like down now. And I was kind of thinking like, Wait, is this part of the test? Like, somebody's gonna come out here. I was like, what? Oh, I didn't even know what to say. I'm like, okay, it was just weird. But so yeah, anyway, so I finally have my endorsement. So I am good to go. But we didn't have to have the endorsement, but I had all the classes. So I'm saying I had everything but never actually had the Never.

Joey Feith  33:54  
Okay, so you're you're you. You had all the pieces, but you didn't have a paper. There you go.

Barb Borden  34:01  
But I think here it didn't. Like it wasn't that big a deal?

Joey Feith  34:05  
Yeah, I think I think too, like I remember when I my first teaching job.I hadn't graduated university yet. And I hired I got hired to teach a 52% teaching position at my old high school. And I said, like, Listen, I'm still at school. But if you let me split the contract with my brother, who's not a teacher, I'll do all the lesson planning and make sure everything's legit. I won't go. And I think that sometimes likeI don't know, I feel like sometimes when people recognize that they've got somebody on staff that can like make things happen. Like we did a lot of stuff at that school, like we ran like a lot of programs that look good for the students whatnot. You know, I'm glad to know that there's people who are able to recognize that and kind of look past the like, bureaucracy stuff and be like, Yeah, this is this is the right call for our school and for the students. So I don't know, like I said Barb on the scenic route and everything's happening here for you.

Barb Borden  35:00  
And so I kind of feel like well, I'm really doing things backwards. Like I already got the PA job and now I'm certified.

Well, yeah. Anyway, so how long have you been? I've been teaching p at your school. So this is my fifth year in PE. That's a wild Barbara.

Joey Feith  35:17  
I can't believe it's only been five years and I see like all the stuff you're doing so. So anybody who follows you online, and if you're not following Barb online, you really should be following her Twitter account because you do such a great job at like sharing, you're not just sharing activities, or what I love about what he shares the way that there's just so much joy in all of it. And you know, like I've got the be like Barb Borden cowbell back here, which I'm not going to read because my kids are sleeping. But that came from like you're teaching with your jumper program where the kids got to go ring the cowbell. Yeah. Like all these like turkeys that you're, you're you're dressing up for your class and everything. So there's, there's a lot going on. And now that I kind of see your story, I see how likeI see your, your, your approach to teaching has all kind of like, played up to this moment where you're in phys ed, and you're doing all these amazing things. So for you being in the driver's seat of that experience, like, what are some things that you've noticed from like, that you do today, in your teaching that you're like, I'm doing this because like, this is like, either an approach or an idea or like an attitude that I'm pulling from like, my job, like, when I was the librarian, or like, when I'm pulling from like, my tech position, like, do you see how like looking back? Or like the pieces fit together? And can you share a little bit, but like, how, how you see that all coming together like that?

Barb Borden  36:34  
Yeah, so what I love about now is I get to see these kids every day, where when I was in technology in the library, I only got to see him once a week. So I feel like I have a better you know, relationship with these kids. And one thing that I was a little bit so like, it was hard coming now, only doing one lesson a week versus now I have something every day. So it was very different. And, and it was very different having I had double classes in PE so I had to kind of hone those, you know, skills of the way I had my kids, you know, in a smaller space. Now I'm it's a completely different animal. You know, like, it was really, really, how big are your classes now? Because you teach large groups? Yeah, I do. They're about I think this year, our biggest class is 48. Okay, so and it's growing, we keep I'm, every day, I feel like I went out every day. But you know, I'll probably be at 50 before the end of the year with some of the classes. I see.

Joey Feith  37:48  
Yeah, so when so when you so I'm, I'm assuming when you got the PE job, you know, you probably already had some confidence as a teacher because you'd had the success as a librarian, you had the success as a tech teacher. So it's a little bit different than going into a job when you're brand new. And you don't you haven't found your teacher voice yet. You don't have like a footing in the school yet you're you're in a bit of a different position. So but anybody, I don't care how much experience you have anybody going into teaching five days a week cater to phys ed to large groups, that's going to be intimidating. So I wonder, like, when you found out when you got into that position? What was the biggest like, oh, shoot part of that job? And how did you how did you ultimately overcome that?

Barb Borden  38:33  
So that you know what, and this is kind of where you come into play? Because honestly, that first year was a struggle. I mean, like, I had some difficult classes I had, like, admin, kind of like, a couple of times, they were like, didn't like something that happened or you know, and I was like, Oh my God, and it was one of those things like, Okay, you cannot get me down, I'm going to pick myself up and I'm going to learn from it. And I started like, I need Who do I need, and I like typing. And here comes Joey Feith. And I look and I see that you are going to be the keynote speaker at PE Institute and that is when I was like, I got to see this guy. He's awesome. I had been listening to your podcast and I had been you know, just trying to get as much PE information as soon as I knew I was going into PE I was like, you know, you know just inhaling as much as I could but you know that's it's there's so much out there Yeah, right yeah. So my my cooperating teacher was like given me a few good file Hey, follow these guys. I was already on Twitter, but I was on Twitter through like tech people. I wasn't following any PE people. And so she starts telling me hey, follow these couple of people and these are some good names. So and I I did you know I started looking at like Mike Graham, you there you know, I could list a million and and Ben Lander's. So I'm just kind of trying to get all this info. And I see that you're going to be at the PE Institute. So right away, I mean, I'm trying to think of the timeline. I can't remember when that came out. But that's when I was like, I am asking for this for Christmas. Like, just I need to go to this. And so that's what I, that's what I got for Christmas is like, here's your plane ticket. You're going, I knew nobody, like, I went by myself. I remember. Like, I ended up going like to one of the tables sitting down and it was like Kelly Brown was there. I was gonna say,that's how I met Kelly.

Joey Feith  40:38  
I feel like I remember when you came up, introduce yourself. And I feel like it was at the social at it. And if I remember right, you're with Kelly at the time. I might have been. I feel like, if that's how I picture in my head, because I remember you call me was like, Hey, can we get to see you speak? Yeah, okay. I know.

Barb Borden  40:57  
You're probably like, this groupie over here. Yeah, um, you just dove right into it that you just started like I was. I was geeking out. I was out of control. I was laughing because I was like taking selfies with everybody. I remember I was sending them to the now that I keep pointing over here because that's the small gym. Sorry, you're probably winning. Yeah. And in that gym was my other co worker was Laurie, but she's now in kindergarten. She's not even teaching PE anymore. So anyway, though, she she knows all those guys. And I'm like, I am hitting chicken tenders next to Ben Landers. He's like, Oh, my God So I mean, it was stupid, because, you know, it's kind of funny. Chicken tenders? Ben, that's what we're calling him on Twitter. So he's probably like, what? I don't remember that at all. But anyway, um, so? Yeah, I mean, I was just like, you know, taking full advantage of every single thing. Oh, my gosh. So hold on. I have it right hereI have an egg in it. So I got that at the.

Come on. Yeah. Like, yeah, you're cool. I recognize I recognize the plaque because I got the Brazell 10 award that they made. That whole thing was unbelievable. I was couldn't believe I got that. You know, I was so like, stoked everything. I was like, on cloud nine. That was the best experience of my life. Like I learned so much. And since then, I mean, I feel like I just keep getting better and better and better.

Joey Feith  42:39  
Like, I feel like the PE Insitutes for people who, who never got a chance to attend them. And I always say like, EPEW out California has a very similar vibe. I've heard. It's like this combination of like, this camp kind of feel to it. Yeah, like it feels it. I don't know if it's because it's happening in the summer or what it is, but it feels like you're on vacation, even though you're there to like, like learn and whatnot. Yeah. And then there's that there's the combination of the fact that like, there's incredible amounts of talent, like like, I'm not saying because I'm speaking but there's like a lot of like, talent there. Yeah. To learn from so you're leaving ideas. But then like, the whole energy of it is boils down to like, we care about each other. Yeah. And I think that's something that I've noticed that I've found missing, like other conferences, and it feels weird when you go to another conference, and you don't, you don't get that same kind of vibe, because the pain stew for like, the longest time was like my like, like, like how I just looked at every conference, because the conference I'd been to the most and like, you know, like Artie taking me under his wing and supporting me in the way that he didn't want to. And I think I could totally see how that first of all would be like a place where you would fit right in. And just people having fun caring about each other excited to be there and cheering. But I think like if I were starting conference today for anybody listening thing, I'm sorry, comments. I think that's the most important thing is to be like how do you get people to who are stepping into it the first time feel like they're stepping into family and I think that's what was so magical about it was that, you know, you just you just really felt cared for you felt like people wanted you to succeed. And it just felt like this like this family getaway somehow.

magical place. Yeah So you so you, you get in there, you're having a rough year. And I think that's one thing that's important to remember is like no matter what, like, whenever you like in those transition years, those transition years are always gonna be challenging. I think no matter how you want to go about it, you're gonna be dealing with things that you're unfamiliar with. And that's always like off putting, like, when when you've been teaching for a while, especially. So but you start learning online and whatnot. How did you begin to kind of like build up your your your voice and your teaching style? When you as you teach phys ed, because I think the way you go about your phys ed teaching, like, I just think it's very unique. I think I, you know, if I see if I see clips on Twitter and you took away like the user name, I'd be like, oh, yeah, that's Barb's class, you just be able to tell right away. Yeah, just because they're young, not just because there's like 1000 of them, but because of the energy that lives in it. So how did you kind of, is it just something that you're building up? Or you're transferring throughout your career? Or is it something kind of new that you that you discovered or developed as a PE teacher?

Barb Borden  45:30  
Yeah, I think my management skills have gotten better, I've come up with better ways of like, just lining them up their squad spots, the way things have worked for me, it's now that peace is like solid. And so then the rest kind of comes in, I feel like I can be myself and I'm pretty, you know, like, charismatic when I'm teaching, you know, like, here's where I got a story. So when you're when you're teaching your real, your real bore Barb when you're part of a show, right? I mean, I'm a performer.I like to ham it up. So, so I'm teaching the other day we're teaching.We're, we're doing basketball skills. And we're doing shooting. So I talk about beef, right? And so I'm like, we're serving beef. So you want to like a waiter, you know, you're in the store, or in the store. You're in the restaurant. And I'm like, you know, of course I'm like strutting around, like carrying my tray. And I was like, What are we serving in here and everybody yells beef, and you know, we go over what it stands for.And then I say, we don't want no chicken wings. And I'm like, you know, no chicken wings up in this restaurant. So you know.We don't want no chicken wings. Only beef, and they're all They're all cheering like beef, no chicken wings. And then I was like a No granny shots, you guys and so that I demonstrate No granny shots. And so I get up there again. I'm like, what do we want in this restaurant? And they're all beef. I'm like, yes.No chicken wings. And they're like, We don't want no chicken wings. And I go and No, and I make the gesture. And one of the kids goes, No granny panties.I'mso close.almostsound like yeah, okay.

Joey Feith  47:33  
I totally I totally agree with what you're saying. Like I always said like,even I was shooting a video earlier today because I'm taking over the the U five soccer program here in town. So I was like, put on I want to look like I was like a soccer coach, I guess I put on like my teaching gear and whatnot. And it feels like you're putting on a superhero outfit. Like it does. Like I really feel like when you put on it's like, I slipped right back into like, Mr. Joey mode. Or if I'm volunteering at the school on him around kids who want to like, I feel my voice change. I feel like like, my the way my brain is thinking, like snaps into like play or whatnot. Like I was, I was talking at the local university and talking to some, like future students, whatnot. And they were like, any advice for like, up and coming? I was like, yeah, like working camps, like when before you're able to teach like work, like, just spend as much time as possible around kids, because you're going to be crafting this persona. And I want to be careful saying that, because I think it's really important to like, you're always authentic when you're teaching. But there's like a voice and a way of carrying yourself in a way of like, expressing yourself that like, yeah, it's something that you craft over the years that is aligned to who you are, that's aligned to your values and all that. But it is like a character that you ultimately like end up playing. And the more time you spend getting to practice that the stronger it becomes when you can like stand in front of like 50 like kindergarten students and pretend you're in a restaurant, just capture all their imaginations because they know that there's, there's a show happening, and I'm assuming your class, they never really know what to expect next.

Barb Borden  49:14  
Now,one of the kids that got a new student and I think the firstquestion, she said,is it going to be boring and the other kids were like, Oh my gosh, no, the B word. Like I don't know what district you came from, but it is not going to be boring.

Joey Feith  49:39  
Barb just just wrapping up here. You know, it was the same thing like last last time when we when we hung out we chatted, I tweet afterwards that like my cheeks were so sore for like hours afterwards and I can already tell right now like I've got those cramps up in here that are gonna last and you you just bring So much happiness and joy to what you do. And I'm just so incredibly grateful for it. If I'm, if there's anybody listening right now, who is, you know, kind of wearing those goggles that were talking about earlier who kind of find themselves like, in this like negative kind of rut or whatnot? Maybe they've been knocked out a couple times, maybe they've been, you know, like, had red tape thrown up in their faces when they've tried to run with things. What advice would you give them? We ll, how would Barb Borden and kind of approach those situations in order to kind of like punch through and continue again to like, not only find joy, but be able to, like, share joy through their their teaching?

Barb Borden  50:40  
Yeah, I mean, I just, you know, I am so passionate about the kids, like, I always, it always comes back to like, what I am, like, I look at them. And that's kind of why I do what I do. I think it's why we do what we do, right? I mean, and I think if you truly love your, what you're doing, there are going to be rough patches, it's not an easy job. I mean, we're getting pulled in a lot of different directions. And, you know, but I think the, it just the benefits outweigh you know, some Yeah, you're going to have some bumps, and there are going to be some things that we don't want to do. But in the long run, I just feel like oh my gosh, we are like, these kids are going to remember us, you know, you make it memorable for them. They, I have kids that come back from the other schools that come and see me and they're like, oh, remember, I remember when we did this, or, you know, they they remember, they remember and you're putting like, just, I don't know, I just think it's pretty cool that we can have such an impact on these kids and, and maybe change their lives for the better. I mean, you know, sometimes I don't like you should never think like, gosh, I'm just a teacher. No way, man, you are shaping like, these other kids that are going to become something amazing, you know. So I think we have a really, really important job, even though we don't get paid like we should.

I mean these kids are there. They are the future. That sounds super corny, but I mean, and, and they do love us they do. I mean, we're like, their family, we see them so much, and sometimes more than their own parents, you know, well, you know what I mean? Like, but it's a very, it's a very

Joey Feith  52:37  
it's a very incredible thing to get to watch a kid grow up. Yeah. I think like being a teacher, like, when you teach multiple grades, and even like, you know, you're in a cater to school, like the kids grew up a lot in that time. Yeah. And to get to watch a kid grow up is like a very like, it's a it's an incredible privilege, really, is when you're able to recognize as such, like,you remember why you're in it?

Barb Borden  53:03  
Yeah. It's just cool. I mean, like, don't give up, don't give up. I mean, like, really try and think of look at the silver lining, you know, like that. Nothing is ever that bad. They're just not. I mean, it's what I tell the kids like, isn't a big problem or a little problem. Like, let's look at it and try it. If you're really struggling, just get in the Guana for your gym.Exactly. There, they make you feel better. Actually, that's funny. Youjust just like what kids say sometimes. And when you hear something that they say that you've said, you know, before or it clicks, and you're like, What did you just say? That's amazing. Like, I had a kid today, we did these just we built obstacle courses. And then they had to dribble their basketball through these obstacle courses. But I told them, they couldn't get a ball. Until you know, we I was given them like five or six minutes to build their course. And then we get a ball and then the one kid was like, Yeah, we we need to kind of like go through it without the ball first to make sure that it's going to work. That was a kindergartener. I'm likejust blew my mind kid, like, wow, this kid kids before? Yeah, I know. But when you say stuff like that to them, too. They're so proud. You know, I don't know, you just don't get that from, you know, sitting behind a computer and, you know, crunching numbers and boring, you know, satisfaction. I don't know, maybe I also think though that like, it takes a special kind of crazy to be able to, like recognize that.

Joey Feith  54:48  
I think that's like one thing too. Is that like,I don't know, I I,in so many ways. I know I was like born to teach andI can't, I can't explain it. I just know that it's in there. Yeah. And I think that the people who have it like, you just know it's there. You just know it's there. And you're just able to recognize it. Because, yeah, for a lot of people, the idea of being in a classroom of 48 kindergarten students is like, a definition of hell..So, yeah, yeah, special kind of crazy. But, you know, the world needs that kind of crazy.

Barb Borden  55:25  
I love that special kind of crazy t shirt.

Joey Feith  55:31  
This has been so much fun. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat. If people want to, if people want to connect with you, where should we direct them?

Barb Borden  55:38  
Um, well, you can find me on Twitter at @barbaraborden9. That's probably the best place to reach me. They could email me or do you want my email?

Joey Feith  55:51  
No, well, will, will will send to you on Twitter. And once they once they're there, they'll be able to direct their way around. But yeah, I honestly think that if you're a phys ed teacher, or if you're just any kind of teacher, if you're a librarian or tech teacher, and you want to fill your your Twitter timeline up, have a little bit more joy. Barb is the person to follow. Thank you so much for this power of okay, I'm gonna go massage my cheeks here so they can stop hurting. And just thanks so much for for, for cheering us all up, and for reminding us how great it is to be able to bring a little bit of magic into kids lives each day.

Barb Borden  56:29  
Oh my gosh, thanks so much for having me. And totally appreciate it is fun.

All right. I'll talk to you soon. Okay.

Joey Feith  56:40  
So that's it for this episode of the financial podcast. I hope you enjoyed it, please make sure that you go and check out Barb's Twitter account, and give her a follow up. I'm just incredibly grateful to have been able to connect with Barb over the years. And I'm so excited for more people to be able to discover all the incredibly fun and amazing things that she's doing with her students. Once again, if you're a fan of the physical educator.com, and you want to keep learning alongside with me, go ahead and learn more about phys ed you at the physical educator.com/membership. Like I said, there's a tier for every one in there. And each one of those tiers brings a ton of value and really, really packs a punch. And I guarantee that once you join the campus, you're going to be welcomed by an incredible community of educators who are dedicated to growing together and learning and challenging ideas and having a ton of fun along the way. So that's at the physical educator.com/membership. If you got any questions just hit me up on Twitter. Thank you so much for listening in today. And happy teaching

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Show More

More Episodes

The Scenic Route To Joyful Teaching w/ Barb Borden

Listen Now

Skateboarding in Physical Education

Listen Now

How To Support Our Students' Sense of Belonging

Listen Now