28 September, 2023 | Posted by Jenny Smith

What is the Role of a PE Teacher?

Imagine a world where educators not only teach but also inspire, where classrooms extend beyond four walls, and where lessons resonate for a lifetime. This is part of the role of PE teaching today, the modern PE teacher wears many hats, all designed to shape holistic health and well-being. 

A PE teacher holds a vital position in the educational journey of students. Their primary responsibility is to educate students about the importance of physical activity, the principles of physical fitness, and the skills necessary for various sports and recreational activities.

They provide an environment in which students can learn the benefits of an active lifestyle, including improvements in physical health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life.

The role of a PE teacher has evolved remarkably in recent years, particularly since the introduction of Physical Education as a senior cycle subject in the Leaving Cert in Ireland in 2018. Let’s examine the role of PE Teachers now:

1. Moulding Holistic Individuals

No longer confined to just imparting sports techniques, PE teachers aim to develop students' physical, emotional, and social skills. They foster resilience, teamwork, leadership, and perseverance, ensuring students are not only fit in body but also in mind and spirit.

2. Advocate for Lifelong Fitness

As screens dominate daily life, PE teachers play a critical role in instilling the importance of lifelong physical activity. Through varied and engaging lessons, they introduce students to sports and activities that can be pursued throughout life, from traditional Gaelic games to global favourites like basketball, yoga or dance.

3. Championing Mental Well-being

The link between physical activity and mental health is well-documented. PE teachers, acknowledging this interconnection, can focus on activities that promote mental wellness. Mindful movement, relaxation techniques, and the sheer joy of play contribute to students' overall emotional well-being.

4. Inclusion and Diversity

PE offers an opportunity to emphasise inclusivity in education. Lessons are designed to cater to students of all abilities, ensuring everyone feels valued and included. This approach champions the idea that fitness and sports are for everyone, regardless of skill level or background.

5. Integrating Technology

Gone are the days of just stopwatches and whistles. Today's PE classrooms might include heart rate monitors, fitness apps, and virtual reality experiences. This tech integration not only engages the digital-native generation but also enhances the teaching and learning experience.

6. Community and Environmental Engagement

PE teachers often transcend the confines of school walls, engaging with local communities, and leveraging the natural environment. Be it a hike through the countryside or an urban dance class, they utilise diverse settings to provide enriching experiences. 

7. Continuous Professional Development

To stay relevant and effective, PE teachers actively seek professional development. They stay updated with the latest in sports science, pedagogical techniques, and global best practices, ensuring their students receive a contemporary and comprehensive education. 

The role of a PE teacher today mirrors a global shift in understanding the comprehensive importance of physical education. These educators are not just teachers; they are mentors, health advocates, tech integrators, and community leaders.  

PE teachers work diligently to design lessons that are inclusive, age-appropriate, and tailored to the diverse needs of students. These lessons go beyond just teaching the techniques of a particular sport; they also aim to instil values such as teamwork, discipline, fair play, and perseverance.

For many students, PE is the place where they learn the importance of setting goals, persevering through challenges, and celebrating personal achievements.

As the world increasingly acknowledges the intertwined nature of physical and mental health, the role of the PE teacher becomes ever more crucial, proving that their influence is vast for current and future generations. 

Portobello Institute graduate, Niamh Lister, followed her passion by leaving her job in tech sales to fulfil her potential with a Graduate Diploma in PE.

“When I began to coach part-time I got a huge amount of job satisfaction and enjoyment from what I was doing and knew that I wanted to make this my full-time career. I knew that going back to full-time education would mean some huge sacrifices but fortunately, Portobello provided a great stepping stone into full-time education.

The PE top-up in Portobello was very important for me in gaining the credits to allow me to apply for the masters in PE teaching in UL,” she said. 

Interested in PE Teaching?

Portobello Institute offers a pathway to PE Teaching without the need for CAO points.

Visit our sports department or course pages:

You can also watch our Pathways to PE webinar:


Read More: Discover PE Teaching as a Rewarding and Active Career 

If you are interested in any of our sports courses or have any questions you can book a consultation call with our expert sports advisor Jason Lester, email jason.lester@portobelloinstitute.com or call 01 892 0029. 

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