The conveniences of modern society make it almost necessary to teach children how to exercise and play, Hillsboro High School physical education teacher Jeff Haslett said Thursday, and he’s happy to do the job.
“I enjoy my job,” he said. “I like working with young people. I get paid to play all day, in effect.
“Growing up, I was always involved in athletics and enjoyed exercise,” Haslett said. “From a young age, I could never see myself doing anything else.”
He teaches physical education and health for grades seven through 12, as well as driver’s education. He previously only taught high school, but schedules changed this year.
Haslett said his goal for P.E. is to teach lifetime fitness activities to students — things they can do to stay active their entire lives, regardless of whether they are athletes.
“It’s important to get these young people to understand the importance of exercise at a young age,” he said.
He took his eighth-grade class to Hillsboro Family Aquatics Center to swim Thursday morning. Swimming is a fun change of pace from the rest of the school day for students, he said.
Usually when he takes classes to the pool, he teaches students swimming strokes and how to tread water. Thursday was a little more leisurely than most swimming days though, because the first middle school football and volleyball games of the season were that evening.
Haslett is one of the teachers most affected by the switch from a block schedule to a daily schedule, because the time it takes for students to change into gym clothes is a bigger portion of the class period now.
It is especially noticeable with swimming days because of the time required to bus students to the pool. On block schedule, the students generally were able to swim for a full hour. Now Haslett is fortunate to get 25 minutes at the pool.
His health curriculum focuses on three major topics: physical fitness, nutrition, and alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
HHS Principal Max Heinrichs said Haslett brings a lot of energy to his classes, and Heinrichs appreciates Haslett’s efforts to improve, such as attending seminars about weight training.
“He has continually improved himself on weightlifting,” Heinrichs said. “Our kids are getting better and better because of his knowledge.”
Haslett earned his degree in K-12 physical education and health education from Fort Hays State University, and taught in Argonia for seven years before coming to Hillsboro. This is his fifth year teaching at HHS.
He is married to Hillsboro Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Collette Haslett. They have two sons, 5-year-old Zander and 2-year-old Zayne.