It was never officially allowed but everyone knew somebody who used their PE hour to escape home for an hour, skip into town or just hang around doing nothing in particular. It required some evasion tactics but it wasn't like skipping maths or science. PE wasn't seen as a real subject.
And it wasn't just the students. Many teachers feigned interest in PE. At best, they'd throw you a ball to play with, at worst they wouldn't care if you turned up or not. Even the students who loved PE didn't respect it as an academic endeavour in the past.
Because it wasn't an academic endeavour.
It wasn't even really a subject.
But that's changed now.
Since 2018, PE has been offered as a higher level Leaving Cert subject. It is being treated with the seriousness of other Leaving Cert subjects which means incorporating an academic structure at exam time and creating a consistent syllabus.
In a complete turnaround from what most of us experienced prior to 2018, there is now a seated exam and the questions require more than just common sense answers.
These are examples of questions that appeared on the 2020 exam:
Identify a test that can measure flexibility.
Discuss the importance of hydration on a long-distance runner’s performance.
Identify what class of lever operates at the elbow when throwing the javelin as shown in Figure 3.
Maybe you could bluff these answers in a social setting but in a structured exam, you need to be informed. You need to have studied.
These aren't questions where you can just turn up and know the answers, which is a good measure of what is and isn't a good test.
More importantly, these aren't questions that will be answered by unqualified teachers, the school soccer coach or the school GAA coach. Especially since most of the soccer or GAA coaches across the country are just unqualified teachers who happened to play soccer or GAA at one point in their lives.
Since the students are now expected to know more and do more, it's natural that the teachers are too.
A cursory knowledge of sport and an interest in physical fitness isn't enough anymore. Teachers need to treat their role with the seriousness that their counterparts do in their Leaving Cert subjects. They need to be qualified and have a full understanding of the subject matter that they are teaching. How to become a PE teacher? What PE teacher qualifications can you gain in Ireland? Below we will discuss the various routes to becoming a PE Teacher in Ireland.
How to Become a PE Teacher With Portobello Institute
Portobello Institute offers a non-CAO route to PE Teaching which means you can apply directly to the college without worrying about Leaving Cert points.
This course has been co-developed by Portobello Institute and the expert academic team at LJMU who have an international reputation for the delivery of physical education degrees.
This PE degree combines practical and theoretical aspects of physical education and provides work experience opportunities at each level of study within the school and local community settings.
Designed for those students considering entering the teaching profession, the content of this degree will equip you with an in-depth knowledge of physical education.
You will study a range of modules considering learning and teaching alongside the main sports science disciplines. Modules such as Psychology and Introduction to Skills Acquisition in year 1 right through to Contemporary Issues in PE provide you with strong foundations to build a career in physical education.
Our students can use this BA (Hons) in Physical Education as an entry pathway to becoming a PE teacher.
Portobello Institute offers a Post Graduate Certificate in Continuing Education (PGCEi) with an MSc in Physical Education available from October ’23.
Alternatively, many of our past students have used qualifications gained from Portobello Institute to gain entry to other universities to study post-graduate qualifications for PE teaching.
Portobello Institute also offers a Post-Graduate Diploma in Physical Education. If you already hold a degree in Sport, this course will provide you with the additional modules required to gain access to a professional master's in PE and begin your journey to becoming a PE teacher.