Dan Kvitrud was not sure he could turn his love for sports and his passion for health and wellness into a career until he started spending an increased amount of time with student athletes. At the time he was teaching social studies abroad in mainland China and really liked helping the school’s sports teams improve. That is when he realized he should make the shift from what he was doing naturally and turn it into a professional career.
Now in his third of year of teaching Physical Education at New Life Academy, Mr. Kvitrud or Coach K as his students call him, says he “can’t put a price on how happy” teaching P.E. makes him. Currently Coach K teaches P.E. to 2nd-5th graders and teaches weight training to Upper School students. One unique aspect of teaching P.E. at New Life is all the access to resources the school has for physical education. There are two gym spaces, a rock wall, and a weight room.
Whether it is teaching his third-grade students the proper technique for bowling or instructing his student athletes how to safely lift weights, he is also introducing his kids to a lifelong way to stay fit. One of Coach K ’s goals for his strength training program is to instill a “culture of working out and getting stronger and better.” In doing so, Coach K hopes not only to see success for New Life’s sports teams but also in establishing a healthy lifestyle for his students.
Coach K recognizes that he is fortunate to teach a subject that a lot of people are naturally excited about taking part in. That provides Coach K with a unique opportunity to redefine how many view competition. Many times, in a competitive environment it is common to view an opponent as an enemy. “As Christians we need to always recognize if we are making other people around us feel comfortable, feel confident, and supported. If we want this Kingdom to grow, we need to practice sportsmanship, foster community, and grow in love,” Coach K explains.
When Coach K is not running around the gym or in the weight room at school, he also coaches the NLA JV soccer team. He finds it a unique opportunity to get to know students outside of the school building. He will also run into students during his work with the Oakdale Athletic Association. He loves being able to follow up with students he saw at a game the night before because it helps him strengthen community ties.
Something Coach K hopes to be remembered by is not whether students remember winning a game in class, but that they practiced a skill and can now apply that skill in their sport of choice and they are better than they were when they started. “I think the best legacy any teacher can have is knowing you helped your students improve in whatever field they’re in.”
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