Zoe Hamilton 101
Carbonear phys ed teacher receives national honour
In days long gone, gym was the word given to those periods during a school day where students got involved with some physical activity. Since then, the word has become a little obsolete.
Gym is just short for gymnasium these days. It is only connected to the world of physical education because the gymnasium houses the equipment.
At Carbonear Academy, physical education is in the curriculum, it is in the classroom and it is in the everyday lives of students. That is just how Carbonear Academy educator Zoe Hamilton likes it.
“The gym is where you come to become physically literate and where you come to have fun,” she said. “In the meantime, we have a slogan that we’ve used for years as teachers — ‘I teach physical education, gym lives down the street.’”
A dedicated 17-year veteran of the physical education game, Hamilton was recently recognized for her contributions to her field with the 2013- 2014 National Award For Teaching Excellence in Physical Education. She is one of three teachers from across Canada to receive the award and is the ninth winner from Newfoundland and Labrador.
The award honours Canadian teachers who provide outstanding teaching performance at the elementary, middle or secondary levels, who have an exceptional ability to motivate students to participate in a lifetime of physical activity, and who further physical education in Canada.
“It is a very humbling,” said Hamilton. “That’s cliché, but it is. That’s because in your normal dayto-day you go along and do what you’re supposed to do.”
Hamilton is set to receive her award at the Physical & Health Education Canada’s National conference in Banff, Alta., later in the spring.
The best part
Being a physical education teacher is a pretty sweet gig. Not only are you dealing with physical activities every day, but you’re also playing an important role in the health and well-being of a young person.
You’re teaching a child to be physically literate and giving them the ability to do whatever they want fitness-wise.
“It is my belief that any child who has the fundamental skills and develops their physical literacy in early ages then they are able to do whatever it is that they want physically for a healthy lifestyle as they get older,” said Hamilton. “My favourite thing, and it wasn’t always my favourite thing, is teaching the younger kids and seeing you can see that success very quickly. Say doing an overhand throw for example. Once you teach them the idiosyncrasies of it … and they get it pretty quickly, all of a sudden they enjoy playing the games more.
A simple game of dodgeball turns into a much more enjoyable activity because now they’re more successful at throwing.”
A part of the job
The beautiful thing about teaching physical education is the ever-changing daily plan. Hamilton enters the classroom with a plan, but that can change based upon the students’ wants or the weather outside.
There are intramurals the teacher runs, as well as a successful gymnastics program and crosscountry running that keep Hamilton on her toes. This goes along with instructing student leaders on the finer points of scoring, refereeing and managing a certain game.
It may sound like a lot to do, but for Hamilton, it is all a part of doing the job she loves.
“I love my job and when you love your job, you tend to put a lot more into it,” she said. “I’ve put a lot into it over the years both inside the classroom and outside.”
“I love my job and
when you love your job, you tend to put a lot more
into it.” – Zoe Hamilton
In a Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association news release, Hamilton was lauded for the great job she does, “a great job of uncovering and utilizing the strengths of all those she leads.
“She is a strong advocate for a quality physical education program and works tirelessly to meet the needs of her diverse students with a multitude of interests and ability levels,” the release goes on to add. “Zoe is also very passionate about instilling in young girls a sense of equality, empowerment, self-esteem and positive body image.”
Those are impressive qualifications for Hamilton, who has also taught at Holy Trinity Regional High School in Heart’s Content and Davis Elementary in Carbonear.
“People are appreciating it and that’s very nice to know,” said Hamilton.
Carbonear Academy physical education teacher Zoe Hamilton is shown here with some of the tools she uses every day to educate young people. She will receive the 2013-2014 National Award for Teaching Excellence in Physical Education later this year.
Carbonear Academy physical education teacher Zoe Hamilton is receiving the 2013-2014 National Award for Teaching Excellence in Physical Education.