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Why Calvin PE grads are ready to take charge of a classroom

At Calvin, you’ll be student teaching in PE classes long before you graduate. Not only does this expose you to what it’s really like to teach soccer to a class of fifth-graders—it might turn into a full-time job.


Photo credit: Jess Hekman

  •   Author: Michal Rubingh interviewed Alivia Hibbler
  •   Published: September 27, 2019
  •   Categories: Academics
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Alivia Hibbler is a physical education teacher in Redlands, California. Her physical education major at Calvin offered her opportunities to student teach, attend a SHAPE America conference, and develop leadership skills. We asked her a few questions about her experience.

Why did you major in physical education?

I ultimately majored in physical education because I love being active with kids! I took a coaching class during the interim of my first year and really enjoyed it. The professor strongly encouraged me to consider a career in physical education because he believed I would make a great physical education teacher. 


What kinds of student teaching opportunities did you have at Calvin? 

The kinesiology department provided many opportunities for me to practice my teaching. I had the chance to student teach with a group or as a teacher’s aid in various schools in the area. I also had the amazing opportunity to do my student teaching in California! And I loved being able to fully immerse myself in the school community as a PE teacher.

What’s one of your favorite memories from the kinesiology department?

During my senior year, I had the opportunity to represent Calvin and the state of Michigan at the SHAPE America student leadership conference. I got to meet other physical education students, attend workshops, play games, and learn from physical education leaders. To this day, I am still in contact with people I met at that conference.

What leadership opportunities did your physical education major open up for you? 

Before my current job, I took a volunteer teaching position at Lugonia Elementary School in California. I raised my own salary through donations and fundraisers. And the school welcomed me onto their campus with open arms to teach PE full-time to their 500 kindergarten through third-grade students. I learned a ton those first two years!

It was incredible to see the growth in my students—not only in their physical skills but in their social and emotional abilities. I am happy that my PE program inspired many of the teachers and administrators to continue PE. Now they see its benefits.

Where are you now?

I am getting ready to start my fourth year of teaching physical education at the school where I did my student teaching. I teach kindergarten through fifth-grade PE, and I coach volleyball and soccer. I am also the elementary athletic director.

Do you feel like there’s a deeper purpose behind what you do?

Calvin helped me see that a career in physical education is not only feasible but noble. I learned how God created all of us with the innate desire to move. And as a physical education teacher, I get to help kids of all ages and abilities have fun moving and playing.

  •   Author: Michal Rubingh interviewed Alivia Hibbler
  •   Published: September 27, 2019
  •   Categories: Academics

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