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Avon Lake teacher gets A+ for creativity as gym class goes virtual

Jason Hayne's love of green screen and costumes get students moving while learning from home

AVON LAKE, Ohio — Zoom fatigue is real -- and it’s not just affecting work-from-home adults, but kids who are distance learning too. An Avon Lake teacher is putting all his enthusiasm and creativity into breaking up that monotony. His funny videos are bringing smiles to students and getting their bodies up and moving.  

“Hello! This is online P.E. with Mr. Hayne, bringing you another video!”

From the moment he launches on screen, Jason Hayne has a captive audience. In his 12th year of teaching, the Avon Lake physical education teacher knows a good time in gym class has lifelong benefits.

“If they can remember good times with a positive environment where they were able to achieve success, then that goes a long way towards a healthy lifestyle for the rest of their life,” Mr. Hayne said.

For his students, right now it is a life interrupted for the last seven months, by a global pandemic. In Avon Lake, the district gave families a choice between in-school or distance learning for the first semester. District leaders sought out a team of teachers for the kids who would be learning from home. Mr. Hayne knew right away what he needed to do.

“Definitely one of the deciding factors was that I do like technology. I love technology and I’m not afraid to use it in any way,” Hayne confessed.

Hayne is responsible for all grade levels, but his weekly classes and on-demand videos are tailored for grades K through 6. The first thing you will notice is that he loves fun backgrounds, silly music, hats and costumes, along with activities like juggling and shadow ball to get bodies moving.

And one thing’s for certain: Mr. Hayne’s fan base is strong!

“He’s a lot of fun and he has a lot of energy, which makes it more exciting,” said 6th grader Nicholas Fiore. 

His brother, Mike, agreed.

“He's doing a great job at what he does. And he makes it more interesting every time,” Mike said.

Naomi Feit, a 5th grader was ready with compliments, too. 

“I think you should know he’s an awesome gym teacher, he is very funny and enthusiastic,” Naomi said.

A green screen pro, Hayne considers items all kids have around the house, like socks or plastic bags for juggling -- as well as limited space they may have to move.

“That’s one of the biggest challenges we have when we pick content," Hayne said. "Not only do we have to match it with our curriculum, but then we must be mindful of the environment that the students are in."

The environment he longs for is back at Redwood and Westview Elementary schools in the district, where he typically teaches. But he’s committed to seeing his students through a very challenging time, and he’s ready to connect with “his kids” wherever they may be.

“Boys and girls of Avon Lake, I love you and can’t wait to get moving with you!” 

Mr. Hayne’s video skills also came in handy a few years ago, in a competition to win funding for fitness trackers. His school won $5,000 and got the devices, thanks to Mr. Hayne’s video.

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