About Darrell Bergmann
Darrell Bergmann is extremely passionate about athletics and keeping himself and his students healthy. He is also the Athletic Director at Boyle Secondary school. We met after he watched me speak at a teacher’s convention and as a result, this episode was created! Enjoy.
**Please note that all of our transcriptions come from rev.com and are 80% accurate. We’re grateful for the robots that make this possible and realize that it’s not a perfect process.
Sam Demma (00:00):
Welcome back to another episode of the High Performing Educator podcast. This is your host and youth speaker, San Demma. I’m super excited to bring you today’s episode. Our special guest is Darrell Bergmann. He is someone that I met after doing a presentation to a group of teachers at a teacher association. He is someone that believes in the power of pushing yourself physically.
Sam Demma (01:00):
What you’ll hear about on our phone call today; he’s the athletic director of Boyle Secondary School and activity, physical activity is something that he holds very close to his heart. I hope you enjoy today’s episode where we talk about engaging students virtually in this new environment, especially related to gym class and how he is helping to keep his students fit during this crazy time. I’ll see you on the other side. Enjoy! Darryl, thank you so much for coming on the High Performing Educator podcast. Huge pleasure to have you on the show. Why don’t you start by sharing a little bit about yourself and why you got into the work in education that you’re doing today?
Darrell Bergmann (01:37):
I guess Darrell Bergmann teaching in Boyle, I’ve been a teacher for about 20 plus years now. I got into teaching because I thought to myself, geez, it’d be pretty cool to spend all day in a gym, playing dodgeball and basketball and games with kids. I figured that out when I can remember distinctly is at my grandma and grandpa’s house and we were watching NFL playoffs, and one of my uncles says to me, what are you gonna do when you get older? And I thought to myself hmm, phys-ed teacher. Summer’s off and you get paid to play games. So ever since grade eight summer holidays, I think it was, I knew I wanted to be a teacher in 20 years and best job ever.
Sam Demma (02:17):
I love that. And that’s what got you in. I’m curious to know what keeps you in it?
Darrell Bergmann (02:22):
Oh, the kids hands down on the kids. I, I, so I work at a K to 12 school and I teach PHED, I’ve taught PHED from kindergarten to grade 12 and it’s the kids, just the energy they bring to school every day. And the way I look at it is I get to help them learn to be good people and they wanna be good people. And just those converse conversations and interactions with them every day. It’s just, I don’t know. It helps keep me young. So it’s the kids hands down.
Sam Demma (02:51):
Now I’m curious to know throughout your own journey as a student, before you decided to get into teaching, did you have any educators, gym teachers, coaches that slightly pushed you in this direction, or was this solely a decision you made based off your own personal ideas and experiences?
Darrell Bergmann (03:06):
So I never had any coaches or teachers push me into the field of education. I just, I, I, I can remember as young back as grade three, I always looked at the schedule for the day and I always looked where was PhysEd class during the day. And to me that I just I’ve always loved being active playing games and competing and doing all that stuff. And just, I don’t know, it was just a natural attraction to be a PhysEd teacher.
Sam Demma (03:33):
Which makes sense as to why you run 70 kilometers a week.
Darrell Bergmann (03:37):
That’s for fun to have.
Sam Demma (03:40):
So why do you think it’s important to keep challenging yourself as you grow? Like I, I mean, you mentioned earlier before this call that you, you like running because it’s, it’s a way to challenge yourself. Why do you think that’s important?
Darrell Bergmann (03:52):
Oh, just to stay motivated. Like you always gotta find something. Whether, you know, whether it’s running, whether it’s cooking, whether it’s a sport, give yourself a purpose just to get the most outta every day. You, you, you everyone’s gotta find that unique thing. And for everyone it’s something different. And for people, it changes over time. Like I said before, we got started here back when I was younger, I absolutely despised running. I couldn’t stand, I didn’t understand why people did it. And now it’s like the one activity I do more than anything else besides, you know, being a PHY ed teacher is I love to run.
Sam Demma (04:25):
Ah, that’s so awesome. And I would assume that being an athletic director as well at the school, you encourage all the students and kids to do similar stuff, or are they running kilometers and, and letting you know?
Darrell Bergmann (04:38):
So like my kind of my big goal for all my PhysEd classes, try to introduce the kids to as many different activities so they can pick the one that they are gonna continue for the rest of their life, whether it’s Bochy ball or volleyball or basketball or whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be running for them, whatever they’re doing, if they enjoy it and it’s get, and they’re getting some exercise go to the deal that doesn’t matter to me. So whatever it is for them, you know, as long as they’re having fun.
Sam Demma (05:07):
Oh, I love that. And how do you think you’re still making personal relationships and connections with students dealing with some changes in education this year? Are all of your students still in class? Are you able to all see each other? What does education look like and how are you still managing to of those strong relationships?
Darrell Bergmann (05:23):
So our school, we have been lucky. We have been basically open like other than the inception of COVID where kind of everyone closed down our school. We’re a small school in Northern Alberta and we’ve been lucky. We’ve been pretty much regular classes online. We’ve had a few hiccups here and there, but for the most part we’ve been in session. Now it’s not exactly the same as it was pre COVID. I mean, there’s a lot more protocols and we have to do things as safe as we can, but I don’t know the kids are going through it. We’re going through it. We’re just trying to make our way as best we can. And you just, I don’t know, to, to me, kid, to me, kids are people and they want you just, you talk to them like they’re a person and you just, you keep making those connections and everyone’s in it together. And just trying to get through this as best we can. Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t know if that answered your question at all,
Sam Demma (06:14):
Sam. Yeah, no, it does. You know, it treat human, treat them like they’re human beings and adults and, and they’ll reciprocate that energy for you, I would assume. That’s awesome. And if you could go back and speak to your younger self, like when you first started teaching, knowing what you know now with the wisdom you have, what advice would you give?
Darrell Bergmann (06:35):
Oh, advice I, to inexperienced teachers is they’ve gotta figure out what works for them. And they’ve gotta figure out how to connect with students in their own way and what works for me. Isn’t gonna work for John or Jim or Julie. Everyone’s gotta kind of be themselves to, to create those you know, positive connections with the kids that you know, that that’s unique to them cuz everyone has their own style. So it’s it’s you gotta be you and you gotta connect with kids at your own way.
Sam Demma (07:06):
I love that. And in terms of connecting with students, sometimes we see the impact we make. Sometimes we don’t, sometimes it happens 20 years later when they send you a handwritten note. Sometimes it happens the day after something you said they come in class and tell you how much of an impact it had. Do you have any stories of student transformation, whether in your class or in your school that you have seen that have inspired you and reminded you why this work is so important? And the reason I’m asking is because I think right now, some teachers listening might be burnt out and forgetting why they actually got into teaching and a story of transformation might remind them why they’re doing the work they’re doing. And you can change the student’s name if it’s a very personal story. But I’m curious to know if anything kind of comes to mind.
Darrell Bergmann (07:49):
Well at my school we have we it’s called work experience. The students get credits for our, and they cut. They help out with different roles at the school. Nice. So me being the PHY ed teacher, it’s always helpful to have a student or two help you with set up, clean up refereeing. Joining in. I had one student, I won’t, I won’t name the student, but so we were, we were outside playing slow pitch, pre COVID. And I got nailed in the side of a head by a, by one of the balls we were using. Oh wow. And the student was about 60 yards away and they’re like, oh, I accidentally hit you. And it was, it was like in a crowd of about 30 kids. And I’m thinking to myself, I don’t know how this could be an accident. well, and then the next day he kind of made a joke about, you know, oh, how’s your head.
Darrell Bergmann (08:36):
And then the next year he wanted to be my work experience student. I kind of hum. And I thought, you know what, I’m gonna give him a chance. And I’ll tell you what, he turned out to be one of my best work experienced students ever. Like, so it’s just giving him a chance. Kids do dumb things sometimes. And, and you never know, you don’t always see it or you can’t always expect it, but you never know when that difference is gonna be. So for me, just taking that chance on that guy who nailed me in the side of the head, 60 yard, Sam and it, and at the time he didn’t seem too sorry, the next day he wasn’t very sorry at all. Yeah. But I gave him that chance. And boy, we actually, we, we got a real good relationship now where every day see each other, we say, Hey, how’s it going? He’s not my work exp experienced student anymore. But it just, you know, he gave him that chance and he came through and I gotta give him full credit for that.
Sam Demma (09:24):
Oh, I love that. There’s so much wisdom in this. So, you know, treating students like humans and adults, giving students a chance to own some responsibility and to challenge them the same way you would challenge yourself when you’re running. And you might just be surprised what a young person is capable of. Would you agree?
Darrell Bergmann (09:42):
Oh, 100%. They, they want so like, like it’s funny cuz when I first started teaching, I never wanted to teach junior high, the old, you know, they’re all kind of attitudey and moody and, and they’re gonna talk back and stuff and it’s just, they want to fit in. They wanna be like they want and, and not just their peers, but they want teachers to like them. And it’s, they’re, they’re struggling with making good choices on a daily basis. And that, you know, as a teacher, we get to help them learn what you can and cannot do. And you know, sometimes you can have a little bit of fun, but sometimes you gotta work so that I, I that’s just a reward every day, helping them be, you know, positive people and citizens and you know, good people.
Sam Demma (10:24):
I love that. Cool. Darrell or AKA Berg. thank you so much for coming on the show. Appreciate it. If another educators listening wants to reach out, maybe ask you a question or chat about this conversation, what would be the best way for them to, to contact you?
Darrell Bergmann (10:41):
To contact me? well, I’m on the TikTok @bergs_27. I got a cult following on there. I’m trying to start the fun stock Friday movement. So if you look at #funsockfriday, you’ll definitely find me there. Cool. You can, could shoot me an email Darrell.Bergmann@aspenview.org. Gosh, I better spell my name. No one will spell that correctly. Darrell.Bergmann@aspenview.org. And I’m freshly on the Instagram as well. That’s a new one for me, but yeah, I definitely love to hear feedback from people.
Sam Demma (11:18):
Awesome. Darrell, thank you so much for doing this. Really appreciate it, and keep it up with the awesome work. And there you have it. Another amazing guest, an amazing interview on the High Performing Educator podcast. As always, if you enjoy these episodes, please consider leaving a rating and review so other educators like yourself can find this content and benefit from it. And here’s an exclusive opportunity that I mentioned at the start of the show. If you wanna meet the guest on today’s episode, if you wanna meet any of the guests that we have interviewed, consider going to www.highperformingeducator.com and signing up to join the exclusive network, you’ll have access to networking events throughout 2021 and other special opportunities. And I promise I will not fill your inbox. Talk to you soon. I’ll see you on the next episode.
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