Jayne Richards has taught Punk Rope for 10 years.
AND WE LOVE HER!
We met Jayne Richards on March 1, 2008 at a Punk Rope Instructor Workshop in Franklin, Massachusetts. She was the 865th instructor to complete her Punk Rope certification. Little did we know at the time that ten years later she would still be carrying the Punk Rope torch at the Florence Sawyer School in Bolton, Mass where Jayne is a health and PE teacher. We also had no idea that Jayne would tattoo the Punk Rope logo on her ankle or that she would compete in the 2010 Punk Rope Games and then serve as a referee in a number of subsequent competitions. Jayne is a Punk Rope national treasure. We thought you’d like to know more about her so here she is:
TIM: You’ve been doing Punk Rope for 10 years with the kids at the Florence Sawyer School. What motivated you to introduce the program at the school?
JAYNE: It was my 2nd year teaching health & physical education (PE) – after spending 20 years in high-tech – and I was looking for new skills and activities to use in PE class. I had so much fun taking the training (as exhausted as I was) and I knew that this would be so much better for kids who don’t necessarily like PE. I got permission to pilot a morning Punk Rope activity that April (2008) and have been doing it ever since.
TIM: Reflecting back on those 10 years what were some of the highlights?
JAYNE: The highlight for me is always when I have a student say ‘I can’t jump rope’ and they come and try it anyway. With a little bit of encouragement and practice, I get to watch them go from struggling to make one jump, to being able to count the number of jumps in a row. Watching those faces when they realize what they’ve accomplished is priceless.
TIM: What were the biggest challenges of the past 10 years?
JAYNE: I had a couple of years where I only had a few kids and I wondered if I would be able to keep the program going. So instead of word-of-mouth, I put out ‘word’ through announcements and in newsletters home to parents, and that solved that problem. I had way too many kids but we managed.
TIM: Do you think we’re heading in the right direction as a society in terms of getting kids to be active and healthy? If not, what should we do differently?
JAYNE: I think that whenever kids are having fun, they engage. It’s hard when kids know they can’t do something or do it well, but aren’t always willing to keep trying or don’t get the correct direction. Combine that with the heavy emphasis on competitiveness and it turns a lot of the kids off from being physically active by middle school.That’s what makes Punk Rope so special – they have fun and the only one they are competing with is themselves. Even the relay races – there’s no winner/loser – they just keep going until the music stops!!
TIM: You’re a big time rock ‘n’ roll fan. What attracted you in the first place? Which bands would you like our readers to check out?
JAYNE: Ooooh – bands.I do love music – always have. Some to see in NYC would be Joseph King and the Mad Crush, Wild Adriatic, and Hurricane Bells. Other groups: Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness (lead singer of the former Jack’s Mannequin), All Time Low, Barely Blind, Relient K, Saosin, Snow Patrol, Arctic Monkeys, Walk the Moon, and my favorite band – Neon Trees. Honestly, there are too many to count and my goal this summer is to get back into the city to see shows of bands I’ve never heard of – some of the best music is being played in small venues!!
TIM: What else would you like our readers to know about you or your work?
JAYNE: Not much to tell about me!!! I love my job – I teach health in grades 3-8, run 2 sessions of Punk Rope every year, and new this year, I am the advisor for the school’s Random Acts of Kindness Club. Personally, I have two tuxedo cats (aka ‘my babies’), love to spend time in my garden, and I seriously enjoy my summers in the sun!!!