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

Kind words

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.

Pho­tos by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Compass

Car­bon­ear Academy phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teacher Zoe Hamil­ton is re­ceiv­ing the 2013-2014 Na­tional Award for Teach­ing Ex­cel­lence in Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion.

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