Community Leader Spotlight: Blue Jay Bridge
Blue Jay Bridge, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, has been teaching Physical Education for 19 years. He has taught Phys Ed at Henry G Izatt Middle School (Grades 5-9) and is currently teaching at Beaumont School (K-5). Blue Jay has volunteered with Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg, the Big Brothers & Big Sisters Association, has served on the board of his local community centre and was the president of the Pembina Trails School Division's Gr 4-6 Athletic Association from 2011-2018. He is the co-creator of the website www.PhysEdSource.com and has attended and presented at a number of PHE Manitoba and PHE Canada conferences.
Q. What are you most proud of, in your professional journey, thus far?
This school year has been a particularly difficult year. I had to take a medical leave for a few months in the fall and early winter to take time to work on myself. Essentially, I had just ran myself into the ground. I really felt like I let my students down and my fellow staff. But, I got help, worked on myself and got back to work. Telling myself, my wife, my own kids, my principal and my doctor that I needed help was REALLY hard. Everyone around me was so supportive though and when I came back to work I felt a lot better about myself and my abilities as an educator.
Of course, I wasn’t at work for too long before we have begun distance education due to Covid-19 (another learning journey) but I would say that, in hindsight, asking for help when I needed it is something I am very proud that I did.
Q. What do you hope to accomplish next?
In these interesting times (Covid-19 and Online Learning) I am hopeful to find innovative ways that I can utilize digital learning platforms, such as SeeSaw, to continue to help my students develop a better understanding of their movement, health and wellness even while we are apart.
Q. Where does your love for health and fitness come from?
I was involved in sport consistently while growing up. I had my first opportunity coaching when I was 15-years-old (co-coaching a 10 year old baseball team). Also, I worked at YM/YWCA camp for five summers, which culminated in a friend and I leading a six week canoe trip. Sports, teaching/coaching, and being a member of a team have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
Q. What 3 words would your colleagues and friends use to describe you?
Kind, helpful and smiley.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Footprints can’t be made while sitting down.
Q. What career might you be in now, if you weren't doing what you are doing now?
I’m lucky! I am doing exactly what I was put on this marble to do. I really can not see myself doing anything but teaching.
Q. What do you do to take care of your own health and wellness?
I enjoy time with family and friends and canoeing whenever possible. During this time of social distancing our family has taken up yoga. We are doing a half hour of yoga, as a family, each day. This is followed later in the day with a family walk with our dog and when the spring weather in Winnipeg allows, a family bike ride.
Q. What is the most important thing you have learned from your students?
To try again and don’t be afraid to change the goal.