Teaching Antics: Tag Rugby

I want you to try and imagine teaching Tag Rugby to a group of thirty girls who have no idea about how to play it. The very idea of passing the ball backwards to go forwards!!!! What nonsense. Thank goodness no tackling!!!

Trying to teach the rules was also bad enough. The idea that once the player with the ball has their tag taken you are only allowed three extra steps before you have to pass the ball, BACKWARDS! The fact the defending player has to give the tag back to the player they has just taken it off from! UTTER NONSENSE!


Well, this particular story leads to, what I think, is one of my funniest memories in teaching so far. In fact after twelve years of teaching it has to be in my top ten.

The student in this story  had a good level of ability in PE, especially Football. She had raw talent and could turn her hand to most sports and perform them well.

A number of skills and drills were taught to try and teach the ladies the rules and they way the game was played. Oh my, it was interesting. ” The ball isn’t round Miss”.  “Yes, it’s because it’s a Rugby ball. It’s a completely different shape. It’s oval” was my only response. “Why Miss?” asked another. Other than the fact that a football had been originally used and over time it changed it shape would bore my students. I decided to go with “because it is!!! Lets get on with the lesson”

It is game time! Where all they had learn from the lesson could be displayed. Or not!

Truth be told I wasn’t holding  much hope of having a game that looked like Rugby let alone Tag Rugby, but all the same I gave it ago.

I decided to introduce the rules one at a time to try and make it easier for the girls. What a mistake that was or was it?

The carnage that these games looked like were enough to hold your hands in your head. Many still couldn’t grasp the concept of passing the ball backwards to go forwards. The MOST important rule. The game time was spent stopping and reaffirming this vital rule. Students were calling the rule stupid. Why pass back to go forwards?

Now, the next part of the story could sum up how mental or funny teaching can be.

Remember the student who had raw talent in PE? Well, she was well known for causing some issues in classes. This lesson was no exception. She started testing the boundaries by challenging decisions I made when I was refereeing  her  game. She started to loose her temper, as she could do when things were not going her way.

I reminded her of the three step rule after her tag was taken. The rule explained earlier.

What happens next could have gone either way. It could have really made her flip out and loose the plot completely or for a number of students and myself, made the lesson one to remember.

Now remember I said the ball was oval.

In fit of rage the student starting swearing about the game, myself and the rules, even the other students. Things that really should never be repeated. EVER!!!!

She became so enraged that she threw the ball down with such force. Remember that   the ball is oval.

What do you think happens next? Did it just roll off in every direction as a rugby ball can do? Did it bounce higher than expected?

The answer to this story is told with a smile on my face as I recall this memory.

The student threw the ball down with such anger and strength that it bounced straight back up. Straight back up into her face and sent her flying! Yep you read it correctly. Full smack, bang in the face!



very similar to this!

I would like to add at this point her fuse was coming to an end, to the point of an explosion. Much like a firework, without the colours! It was nearly time to duck.

I can hear you asking what happened next? Did she loose the plot even more? Did she break her nose? Did she come out of it alive?

The answer- no one including myself knew if it was OK to laugh. We didn’t know whether to check on her in fear of having heads ripped off. It lightened the mood of the lesson I am pleased to say. The student burst into laughter and all the tension was gone. This meant that the response from everyone was allowed. The students fell about laughing, I had a big grin on my face  and couldn’t stop the tears. Tears of laughter.

The student and the rest of the group, after a few minutes of pure laughter and tears, were able to regain their composure to get on with the rest of the lesson. By this point there wasn’t much left!!!

I would like to add that this student was always reminded of this story. When she started to loose her temper again in my lessons this was the in joke. I would ask her if she needed a rugby ball. This was usually enough to bring her back into line with behavior. You have to like the in jokes.

This has to be one of my funniest memories in teaching so far.

After all it is about making memories and cherishing those moments that make you laugh, cry, smile or maybe pull your hair out. At the time obviously.














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