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A day in the life: Adaptive physical education teacher

Universities provide thousands of different career paths. Janelle Perrin?s job as an adaptive physical education teacher is geared towards touching lives, hearts and schools.

Living in Scottsdale, Arizona, Perrin works for the Cave Creek Unified School District teaching P.E. for special education students.

Perrin goes from school to school in the district, modifying the tasks in P.E. classes and making them doable for students. Perrin helps the students with growth motor development.

One of Perrin?s students, Jaz Pearns, 20, got to know fellow students in his school by participating in sports. Pearns acted as the water boy for the football team and manager for the varsity baseball team. Pearns was so well-known he was voted homecoming king of his high school.

?It’s truly amazing,? Perrin said. ?You don?t typically see this happen in a school with 2,000 people. It really was a great thing for the entire school.?

More personal accomplishments of Pearns include participating in Special Olympics, playing for basketball and baseball teams specialized for kids with special needs, and with much persistence, finally being able to tie his shoes.

Jaz?s mother, Jill Pearns, voices genuine gratitude to Perrin for the hard work she puts into her job.

?Janelle is a wonderful teacher and she does a great job teaching adaptive P.E. to children with special needs,? Jill said. ?As a parent I am grateful for her providing sports, exercise and competition opportunities to kids who might otherwise not have this opportunity.?

Perrin?s career has given her what she considers priceless experiences.

?Four or five years ago I was teaching a girl about ready to leave high school a routine to keep her active,? Perrin said. ?Today she still does the same routine everyday. It is really rewarding to know that she got something out of it. It makes my time worth while that she keeps it up.?

Before teaching special physical education, Perrin worked as a normal P.E. teacher for 16 years. Perrin also coordinated all traumatic brain injury recoveries within the school district, going from school to hospital working with patients in the district and even principals.

When offered a job as a special physical education teacher, at first Perrin was tentative, but she decided to try it out.

?In the beginning I wasn?t sure I would like it,? Perrin said. ?But after a week in the class I fell in love with the students and knew this was the right job for me.?

Since Perrin began her work as a special physical education teacher, she has worked in the district for seven years to date.

Perrin also believes her job has impacted her own children and made them more compassionate to others. She sees they are more appreciative for the little things they can do like walking up the stairs and tying their shoes.

Perrin?s students also participate in Special Olympics. Her students participate in sports such as bowling, bocce, basketball, softball and track and field. Perrin?s students involved are approximately 40, ranging in ages from 5-22.

Perrin feels the most gratifying part of her job is each student’s success.

?The best part is those little moments in which they have success,? Perrin said. ?They have such a positive outlook on life, they are happy with who they are, and never complain about anything.?

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