By April Clark Honaker
Jay Seal teaches physical education at Cypress Springs Elementary where he has been for eight years.
Aside from his time in U.S. Army, Seal has basically been coaching young children since he was a child himself. At age 11, Seal was recruited by his mother to assist in coaching a softball team for 8-10-year-old girls.
His dad’s business sponsored the team, which was called the Leprechauns, and his mother agreed to coach the team without knowing much about softball. So Seal stepped up and helped coach the team. “It was really fun,” he said, “because I was able to teach them how to hit the ball where they wanted.”
Two years later, the team, which was still pretty much the same group of girls, made it to the national championship in Oklahoma City.
Seal has been coaching and teaching kids in some shape or form since having this early success.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education with a minor in social studies, as well as a master’s degree in exercise physiology and a plus 30 in educational leadership from Louisiana Tech University.
Seal worked in various capacities as an athletic trainer, teacher and coach in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina before returning to north Louisiana. With the exception of a year coaching softball at West Ouachita High School, Seal has been working for Lincoln Parish Schools since 2001.
From Seal’s perspective, teaching elementary students is more fun. “They enjoy things more than the older kids,” he said. Sometimes the older kids act like they’re too cool to have fun.
In addition, Seal said he feels like he has a bit more freedom in terms of the things he can do with the younger kids because they’re not as limited to team sports. For example, Seal is doing a program called Drums Alive right now, which is a program that combines movement and rhythm to exercise the brain and body.
“We do a routine to music with rhythm sticks playing on yoga balls,” Seal said.
At their age, being involved in a physical education class can also help kids release some of their stored up energy. Seal said, “I feel it probably helps a lot with conduct issues to get them out of their chair and get them moving.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the obesity rate in the United States is a staggering 41.9% as of 2017. With this number in mind, Seal aims to help students avoid contributing that growing statistic. He tries to teach them things that they can carryover into their adult lives to keep them active and healthy.
“A kid can grow up and never use the Pythagorean Theorem,” Seal said, “but they need to be able to know how to remain relatively fit.”
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