Former athletic trainer Liz Alves returns to campus as P.E. teacher

September 21, 2022 — by Sarah Thomas and Divya Vadlakonda
Photo by Kayla Nguyen
Liz Alves teaches her Intermediate P.E. class during their swimming unit
Alves is working to become familiarized with the P.E. curriculum, returning after a year leave with high hopes for the program.

Red- and orange-colored balloons bounced on heads as choruses of laughter from the students taking teacher Liz Gilmore Alves’s Intermediate P.E. class echoed throughout the large gym on the first day of school.

While it was a big day for her students, it was also a big one for Alves, who started working at the school in 2008 and has previously held roles as an athletic trainer and a health teacher. She decided to take a leave following her daughter’s birth in September of last year in order to spend more time with her children.

As the athletic trainer, Alves’s hours often extended from 7 p.m. at night to sometimes midnight. The job also meant she only had to arrive on campus by the afternoon. Now, she comes to school by 8 a.m., a schedule she isn’t used to. 

“[Coming back to school] has been good for me because it gives me a routine, which I had less of as a stay at home mom,” Alves said. “It’s a lot more structured now that I need to leave my house before 7:30 a.m. in order to get here early.” 

Having previously taught Health using a curriculum that she could adjust to fit the interests of her students, the more fluid Intermediate P.E. curriculum has given her a new opportunity to innovate. Alves is currently working with fellow P.E. teacher Amy Obenour to standardize Intermediate P.E. 

In contrast, the already-set curriculum of freshmen P.E. has proven to be an adjustment for Alves. She has shadowed P.E. teachers Yuko Aoki and Rick Ellis to get used to the curriculum.

Alves said she is hoping to create a P.E. program this year that people will enjoy, and possibly introduce a new class to the program.

“I think it would be a really neat addition to the P.E. program to have a whole class focused on meditation and yoga and mindfulness,” she said.

She also hopes that the school environment and attitude towards physical education will change in the coming years due to the curriculum change.

“I’m hoping that students will be able to get out, participate more and just have more fun,” Alves said.

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