Patrick Foy is one of the many teachers across the United States currently trying to adjust his lesson plans to fit the new normal most of the United States is facing.
He has been a physical education teacher at Shenandoah Elementary School in Baton Rouge, La. for the past seven years, and, on March 13, he had to learn how to change the way he taught. The school announced that they would be closing the school due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and right away teachers were trying to figure out how they would keep their lesson plans going.
“My daughter (Aubreigh) goes to school there, she’s in second grade, so her teacher started planning all these virtual lessons with them, and that kind of got me thinking, ‘Since you’re doing nothing, how can I stay connected with my students?’” Foy explained. “They love PE, and I love teaching PE, so it got me thinking, ‘Can I make some online lessons for them?’”
So Foy took to YouTube and started creating videos for his students.
This was not the first time that Foy has had to create exercise programs for people. He worked as a personal trainer while going to college, and knew there was a way that he could link that experience with the idea of creating at-home workouts for his students.
There were just two issues he knew he would have to overcome: not all kids would be able to use exercises that involved weights, and he would have to come up with a way to keep them engaged.
COACH FOY YOUTUBE WORKOUTS
To combat the issue of workout equipment, Foy has introduced a lot of body-weight exercises to his lesson plan, and when weights are involved he gives examples that people can use as a replacement. For example, he almost always has canned goods on hand since it is something almost everyone has in their house.
The other issue of keeping kids engaged seemed to come naturally for him, as he has always enjoyed goofing around. He makes jokes throughout his videos, and also has introduced some “guests” where he dresses up in costumes and gives the characters some interesting personalities.
“One thing I do at our school normally is every year around Christmas time, I dress up as Santa Claus. I wear the suit all day and am real silly with the kids as Santa Claus,” he said, explaining where the idea for costumes came from. “Those kind of evolved because (the kids are) going to get tired working out with me every day, so I’ve got to kind of change it up and create these funny characters that can recur every now and then to kind of add humor to it, and change it up some.”
Fun with Family and Friends
Foy also knows that another way to help keep his students engaged with the videos is to get other people they know to do the exercises. He’s had on the school’s principal, Amy Butler, as well as two other teachers, Kelli Lemoine and Meghan Fong. He’s also gotten requests from numerous others willing to help out with his at-home workouts.
“A lot of the teachers have watched it and said, ‘If you need any special guests I’m willing to help out,’” he said. “They share the lessons of the videos with their classes, so they really like them and have asked to participate.”
His family has also been a large part of the production. His wife Laura is his videographer and is responsible for all the editing, his oldest daughter, Aubreigh, is incharge of keeping time during his workouts, and his 3-year old daughter, Annaleigh, can often be seen participating in the exercises off to the side of the screen.
Together, they’ve all been able to create a product that everyone seems to enjoy as the first video has been viewed over 5,000 times.
“It’s kind of one of those things where you didn’t know what to expect,” Foy said of the videos’ popularity. “I was hoping (the students) would like them, but I was trying to do humor where the parents would like it too. I was hoping it would work out, and it has been kind of surprising that they’ve liked them this much because some people might think they’re really silly. You just never know what people are going to think, but it’s been overwhelmingly positive with the feedback I’ve gotten.”
Eventually, Shenandoah Elementary School will open back up, and Foy will be back working with his kids in person, but that doesn’t necessarily mean these videos will stop.
He has had a lot of fun making them, and knows that there is a place in our every-day lives for this type of entertainment. It’s also going to be a great way for him to stay engaged with his students once they all go on summer vacation.