Teacher Feature: RES’s Brandy Roberson uses physical activity to educate

By April Clark Honaker

Physical activity may not solve all of our problems, but Brandy Roberson believes it’s a good start. Roberson has been teaching health and physical education at Ruston Elementary for six years. Roberson, who has also taught and coached at other schools in Lincoln Parish, coaches basketball and cross country at Ruston Elementary as well.

Roberson said elementary involvement in team sports has been growing in Lincoln Parish in recent years, and the level of competition is comparable to what she’s seen with older players.

“It’s very intense,” she said. “You would not know that going in, but it’s every bit as intense as a high school game.” 

Roberson did not imagine herself teaching and coaching elementary students in the beginning, but she has learned to love it.

“I think it’s the most important stage,” she said.  It’s the age when they begin developing as athletes. “It’s where we teach them discipline,” she said, “and a love of the game.”

Roberson believes there are many benefits of physical activity both in and out of sports.

“I’m really passionate about physical activity and exercise and how it impacts the mind and body,” she said. 

She hopes to teach her students things at a young age that will keep them active and involved in healthy things when they’re older. She also hopes they learn things that will help them better manage stress and frustration and build social connections. 

“I get to be the impact that influences them,” said Roberson. Seeing them grow and continue to be active or continue to grow in a sport is especially rewarding. 

According to Roberson, children today are struggling more due to social media exposure and excessive screen time, and rates of ADHD, depression and obesity in children are higher than ever. “

Sitting in front of a screen is not doing these kids any favors,” said Roberson. The amount of sitting required of children in school is hard on them. “Their little bodies are not meant to sit all day,” she said.

Roberson teaches her students how to play games they can then go home and play with their friends on the weekends. She also teaches them how to do proper squats, but what Roberson is teaching isn’t only about the games and the exercises.

“I try to teach my children that physical activity releases endorphins,” she said. She wants them to realize that the things they do in P.E. can actually help them release stress and feel calmer and happier. 

In Roberson’s classes, students also do some reading, math, and group work along the way. “It’s definitely more than just P.E. class,” Roberson said.