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NesSmith keeps PE interesting

LaFAYETTE — One of the core challenges facing teachers is keeping students fully engaged in the learning process.

This is the challenge Dillon NesSmith of Chambers Academy has faced since he started.

Currently, NesSmith is in his second year as a physical education teacher at the LaFayette private school and has enjoyed his time there.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “The kids are great. For some, PE is the best part of their day.”

Watching NesSmith teach is a treat as he seamlessly integrates bookwork into games.

At the start of this interview, NesSmith gathered the students into the gym for a round of dodgeball. Standing in the center of a group of students with a bag of balls, he asked, “What are the four different types of clouds?”

As the students raised their hands to answer, NesSmith picked individuals out and if a correct answer was given, the student earned one of the dodgeballs.

“I try to incorporate other teachers’ lessons into PE,” he said. “The kids get a reward for doing well in class.”

Besides incorporating different lessons into PE, NesSmith also tries to mix up the activities.

According to NesSmith, PE has to be catered depending on the age of the student. For example, younger students learn wiffle ball, then tee-ball before graduating to regular baseball.

NesSmith also gives students more unorthodox activities.

“I’ll give the kids jobs, like being coach and getting the others warmed up before a game,” he said. “It gives them a sense of responsibility. I hold them accountable and they get excited for it.”

One of the more interesting activities he has introduced is teaching students to navigate a map.

“We do this like a scavenger hunt, using the school grounds,” NesSmith said.

It would be hard to call his work anything but successful, with the students and even other teachers being happy with the results.

“Getting the kids active is needed as it makes them function better in class,” NesSmith said. “The kids have a good time and when they see me, they shout, “Coach is here!’”

Outside of class, NesSmith spends time with his fiancée, Brittany Burton. The two are set to be married May 19.