How Charles Dujat ended up teaching P.E. in Beijing
Charles Dujat left the French seaside and came to Beijing more than ten years ago looking for something a “bit more spicy,” and now he teaches physical education to kids aged 3-10 at the International Montessori School of Beijing . While taking a break from chasing his students, Charles explains to beijingkids how sports keep children happy, how his classroom can sometimes become a circus, and why he left the ocean for Beijing.
What brought you to Beijing?
I came to Beijing from France because I was looking for something a bit more spicy. At that time, I was working in a nautical center where I taught surfing, sailing and diving. It could have been perfect, but it just didn’t really fit me. I had never been to China before, so when an opportunity came up, I took it.
Why did you choose P.E.?
I didn’t choose it – it chose me! I went to journalism school for two months, but found that it didn’t suit me. So I started working on dive boats, but it was dark and freezing. My friends told me to get out of the deep blue sea and stay on the surface. I started all the certification for become a diving teacher and that led to the process of becoming a P.E. teacher.
Your favorite part about teaching P.E.?
I think that if you feel well in your body, than you can feel even better in your mind. I don’t separate P.E. from music, math or any other subject. It’s part of the process of being a human being. I really believe in what I’m doing, and it’s the passion that keeps me motivated.
What is the biggest challenge of teaching students so young?
I can see that some teenagers hate to do any type of sport, but I believe it’s because they didn’t find the proper way to play sports when they were young. The biggest challenge for me is to give my students the ability and the wish to continue sports for a long time. Teaching them is not the challenge – the challenge is getting them interested.
What are your typical P.E. classes like?
Unconventional and enthusiastic. For instance, I try to teach gymnastics before the Chinese New Year so we can do the tumbling in a performance of Peking opera. I also did some training in circus school, so I teach Parqour. The main idea of Parquor is to get from point A to point B using only your body as fast and efficiently as possible. It means climbing, crawling and jumping from one point to another in a safe atmosphere. The kids love it, and I don’t think any other teacher in Beijing teaches Parqour.