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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

PHYSICAL EDUCATION instructor Phil Motl prepares to answer a question from one of his Benjamin Cosor Elementary School students on a recent school day.

'I Really Enjoy
Working With Kids'

By Ted Waddell
FALLSBURG — January 3, 2006 – Phil Motl, a second-year physical education teacher at the Benjamin Cosor Elementary School, decided to be a phys. ed instructor while he was attending Monticello High School in the 1990s.
After graduating from Monticello in 1998, Motl went on to study physical education at SUNY Cortland, where he also ran cross country and competed in indoor and outdoor track events.
“I really enjoy working with kids, sports and coaching,” Motl said. “I’m very happy with what I do at the elementary school, putting it all together.”
Last year, Motl started a two-month intramural basketball program for fifth- and sixth-graders that “got a huge response from the kids” as 40 girls and boys met Saturdays in the Fallsburg High School gym. He said the program helps kids take the fundamentals with them as they advance to the modified, junior varsity and varsity levels.
“It’s a feeder program,” Motl explained.
Last spring, he kicked off an after school basketball program for third-and fourth-graders in the elementary school’s little gym. The program was designed to keep them active during the winter months. In one day, 37 kids signed up for the 40 allotted slots.
“We’re getting ready for basketball in January and February with brand new stuff for the kids like drills and other activities,” Motl commented. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun and very rewarding.”
According to Larry Schafman, the Fallsburg Central School District’s Director of Special Programs and Public Affairs, the district is putting together a business plan to look at track and field as a modified program and what it would take to sustain such a program five years down the road, including field modifications, equipment and how to integrate it into the curriculum.
“It would be great for nutrition and obesity, because physical education and recreation is a wonderful thing for students at the lower levels,” Schafman said.
Motl said that track and field “offers something for everybody… we’re going out there and running five laps, doing the shot put, discus, high jumps, sprints, long-distance running and throwing the javelin.
“We made it very clear that no matter what size you are – how tall, how short or how big or how skinny – there’s something for everybody,” he added of his idea to start a one-size fits-all sports program.
Along with Motl, the Benjamin Cosor phys. ed department is staffed by first-year teacher Brian Garber and Charlie Levine, who is a member of the Fallsburg High School Class of 1968. Garber often brings in high school students to help out with the younger kids.
“We really work on lifetime skills, and we stress communication and cooperation, and talk about being responsible and respectful,” said Motl. “We want to help improve them as people later on in life… that’s a real big thing I’m hitting on.”

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