Community, Education, Latest News

Teacher adapts physical fitness lessons during pandemic

More comfortable than a squishy pair of bedroom slippers.

Just ask Mr. Shoe.

“Mr. Shoe” is the nickname of Ben Schueler, who teaches physical education at Suncrest Elementary School, in Morgantown.

Suncrest Elementary opened its doors last week for the first time since March, when Gov. Jim Justice ordered all public schools in the Mountain State shuttered because of COVID-19.

It wasn’t long after when Schueler began pedaling his bicycle to neighborhoods in his school’s attendance area, where he broke into socially distanced, mini-classes on sidewalks and in front of driveways.

“The kids seemed to love it,” he said.

Before that, he was trying to deliver lessons remotely, which was pretty much impossible for a teacher who legitimately enjoys all the bends, stretches and whatnot that go with his profession.

“I got tired of sitting on my couch and shooting videos for class,” he said.

In other words, he evolved — via the pandemic.

This past Thursday and Friday, in the halls and classrooms at his school, way on the end of Collins Ferry Road, he saw the same thing.

That was via the students who wore their masks, without being told to, and maintained social distance, without being told to.

“The younger kids are especially adaptable.”

 Until the vaccine

Events of the past two days also illustrated the full reach of the virus that has claimed more than 200,000 Americans so far and sickened countless others.

You can now count President Donald Trump in the latter category.

The president, who his critics say is not known for his adaptability during the pandemic, announced he tested positive for COVID-19, along with First Lady Melania Trump and others in his White House circle.

Meanwhile, Clay-Battelle High School on Friday also had to cancel its football game with Calhoun County High after a coach presented with a  diagnosis of COVID-19.

Officials from Gov. Jim Justice to Mon Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. have said positive cases, be they in the halls of power or the house next door, are simply going to be inevitable.

Until a vaccine arrives.

 Life in the time of COVID 

With all that, though, Mr. Shoe just said he’s happy to have both feet planted back in the gym at Suncrest Elementary.

Just like those aforementioned slippers, he’s glad to be back into something as comfortable and familiar as it can be, given the constant shape-shifting of the coronavirus.

He’s been following the news and the case numbers, he said, but given the collective age of his students, he’s more about getting heart rates pumping —  than he is politics.

In a pandemic time when everyone is seemingly paying more attention to personal health, Mr. Shoe wants his students to put one foot in front of the other, on the way to physically active lifestyles when they become adults.

So he’ll keep doing serious teaching, he said, with an occasionally silly delivery system.

“Maybe they’ll say, ‘Do you remember that crazy phys. ed. teacher who used to do jumping jacks in the street?’ ”

TWEET @DominionPostWV