Teaching child’s play for retiring educator

Education: Good Shepherd’s Terri Roman retiring at end of the year

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 11:38 am

Good Shepherd School physical education Terri Roman is retiring at the end of this week. She wasn’t afraid to do things like play the court jester to get her elementary school students active.
Good Shepherd School physical education Terri Roman is retiring at the end of this week. She wasn’t afraid to do things like play the court jester to get her elementary school students active.
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Good Shepherd School’s physical education teacher has been known for racking up the ‘W’s, in her career.

Not necessarily “wins”, but Terri Roman is known for “weird”, “wacky” and “wonderful” among her students and peers.

“The Thanksgiving turkey trot is probably my weirdest thing,” Roman said. “Every teacher, every student runs around the field looking like a turkey.

“I have been fortunate, the support I receive from administration is unparalleled. I couldn’t do some of the wacky things I do without their support.”

The 55-year-old is retiring at the end of the school year, after 15 years at Good Shepherd, where she has helped organize family fitness week, a pedometer challenge and most recently a flash mob with the 500-some students.

“It’s time for me to love something else,” Roman said while fighting back tears. “This takes 90 per cent of my energy and I know it is time to do something else… It’s time to find some other challenges in life.”

Roman got her start in Edmonton in 1988 before moving to Christ the Redeemer School Division where she was a physical education teacher at Holy Spirit Academy.

At that time, the school was located at the former High River nurses’ residence. She was a phys-ed teacher without a gym.

“I loved it — it was one of my funnest years teaching ever,” Roman said. “We would go to George Lane Park and do things outside like cross-country skiing, go swimming, it was wonderful.”

However, there were some issues. She was the coach of the junior high school boys volleyball team and the players kept crossing the line.

“Whenever we would go to a game we would get called for stepping over the line,” Roman said. “I kept telling the ref: ‘We don’t have any lines — we practice in a parking lot.’”

At times it was like the sky was falling while at Holy Spirit Academy.

“One time I had the Grade 9s doing aerobics in the classroom and the stucco from the roof was falling on Scott Morrison’s head — he was the principal then,” Roman said, with a laugh. “He came running into the room and said ‘What are you doing —you have to stop.

“There were challenges but it was a lot fun.”

The fun kept on rolling when she came to Good Shepherd School in the late 1990s.

“I had been coaching junior high forever and it just seemed like it was time for a change,” Roman said. “Elementary school you are teaching them how to run, how to jump, how to throw — you are turning them on to sports and activity.”

The key to getting Grade 1 to 6 students going is make it fun and keeping them active. Roman’s badminton’s class on Friday had all 30 students swinging racquets while a country tune blared in the background.

“I have kids come up to me and want me to feel their heads because they are sweating — they are proud of sweat on their shirts,” Roman said. “The kids can come in and play their hearts out. It doesn’t matter if they are good or not. We’re not trying to train Olympic athletes here, we’re trying to turn them on to be an athlete for life.”

That’s done by teaching the students the basics in a fun manner.

“You have to get them hooked and then you teach them the skills,” Roman said. “I know what we are doing is working, because when we have Grade 6 tournaments, every kid seems to want to play. I will show up with five, six teams and sometimes the coaches at the other schools will ask: ‘Are you forcing you’re players to play?”

Being a wacky teacher may run in the Roman family. Her son Jeff, a graduate of Holy Trinity Academy, has graduated with a teacher’s degree in physical education. He team-taught with his mom once this year.

“He teaches like I do,” Terri said with a laugh. “He was playing with the kids and laughing. I thought he was me.”


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