Shouting, laughter, and running can be heard coming from the gym whenever PreK through grade 4 students are in P.E. They just can’t get enough of Subject Expert Teacher Mr. Coquelin’s physical education classes.
More than just learning basketball, soccer, and other sports skills, P.E. at BASIS Independent McLean teaches balance, agility, teamwork, and everyday life skills. Mr. Coquelin's strives to make his students enjoy being active, so that they will want to continue being active on a daily basis once they have left his class.
For 15 years, Mr. Coquelin has been competing in triathlons. This summer, he competed in the Aquabike World Championship as part of the International Triathalon Union in Denmark. Aquabike is the swimming and biking portions of a triathlon. We spoke with Mr. Coquelin about his sport, why competition makes him a better P.E. teacher, and why he loves P.E.
How did you get into triathlons?
When I was a kid my father would bring me to these events. After a couple years of waiting for him to finish I told myself that I could do one. Growing up I was on the swim team and I had to use my bike to get from place to place, so the only thing that I didn’t have a background in was running.
What do you like most about them?
The thing that I like most about triathlons or endurance events in general is finding out where your limit is as an athlete. Then finding out ways to push that line and get better by tweaking your training and growing as an athlete.
What was the process for qualifying for Worlds in Aquabike?
I competed in several United States Triathlon (USAT) Certified races throughout the year. Based on times and scores from those races, USAT ranks the top people in their age groups. The top two in the country are given a slot at Worlds to represent the United States. This year, I was in the top two for Aquabike in my age group.
How was Worlds?
World's was great! I managed to place in the top 50 of the race which was great! I had so much fun and got the chance to meet a ton of great people. Racing on the world stage was a great opportunity and one that I'll remember for a long time.
How does competing in athletic contests help you be a better P.E. teacher?
Competing in sports helps me be a better PE teacher in so many ways. I think the best way that it helps me is that these events force me to not get too comfortable. In school or out on the road, I am always pushing myself to be better—be a better athlete, be a better teacher.
What do you enjoy most about teaching PreK-grade 4 students P.E.?
Every day is different. You can plan, you can predict, but every day in P.E. is nothing like you expected. The life lessons that you get to teach daily are the best!
What’s your favorite unit/concept to teach the kids?
My favorite unit is the cup stacking unit. I like this unit because students get a chance to practice things that they usually don’t get a chance to in PE.
Why is P.E. an important class for our youngest learners?
I not only think that P.E. is an important class but it is the most important class because we teach kids everyday life lessons that they can go out and use immediately and for the rest of their lives.
What makes BASIS Independent McLean unique?
The teachers, administrators, and support staff without a doubt! Every day I see them come into school with a drive and a desire to teach that is unparalleled to anything I have seen before. Everyone here truly cares about what happens to our students and wants them to succeed.
Before joining the BASIS Independent family, Mr. Coquelin served as a professional bike fitter and swim coach for the 8 and Under group at York Swimming. He was attracted to BASIS Independent McLean because he wanted to be a part of an emerging school and help influence the way students look at moving. Mr. Coquelin earned a B.S. in Physical Education from Old Dominion University and is a certified personal trainer. While at ODU, Mr. Coquelin played ice hockey, a sport he still plays today.