A Davenport PE coach started making videos to keep his students active during quarantine. Now, he’s gone viral internationally.
Mic Seifert, the PE teacher at Madison Elementary School, began making exercise videos back in March, when the pandemic shut down schools. Now his YouTube Channel, PE with Mr. S, has nearly 3,000 subscribers.
“This year, we went for Spring Break, and we got notification that we weren’t going to return so after I went through that initial shock and self-pity, I realized that my students and their families are going to be facing some very challenging situations. I knew I needed to up my game, so to speak, and find ways to engage students through new technology.”
Then, this December, Seifert posted a Christmas-themed exercise challenge: On the First Day of Fitness.
It wasn’t long after he posted the video that the views spiked to 35,000, and educators from overseas started calling. Seifert woke one morning to a voicemail from an Italian PE teacher in charge of international affairs.
“She had shown my video in one of their webinars and a lot of the PE teachers really enjoyed it, so she reached out to me and asked me if she could have the video, so I sent her the video, and she translated it into an Italian version.”
Seifert says his videos are a family affair. His son, a student at St. Ambrose University, composes the music for his videos. His wife is a personal trainer, so she helps with the content of each video. And his daughter stars as Cinderella.
“I have a favorite video, and it’s called Wheel of Fitness, and that one’s my personal favorite because it has my daughter in it. My daughter is a student with an IEP (Individualized Education Program), she has down syndrome, and so, she’s in it. She’s wearing her Cinderella dress the whole time, participating, doing an amazing job of demonstrating. My son is also in it as well, and he’s been very helpful because I didn’t know how to do any of this at all, I can’t stress that enough. I did not know how to do any of this, so I’m learning so many different things and I’ve grown so much as an educator. My son… had to show me how to do Youtube and, at first, I imagine it was kind of a pain in the tail.”
Seifert’s students assume he’s rich now. But while Seifert hasn’t made any money off of his videos, their popularity speaks to how schools around the globe are navigating the pandemic.
“Obviously, you want to stay healthy. And, you know, I’m guilty of it as well. I’m used to a routine, especially as a PE teacher. When I get home, I usually have between 15,000-20,000 steps in just a regular day… Suddenly, when I’m quarantined, and I’m stuck in my house, at times, I would have to find ways to move my body because suddenly my 15,000-20,000 steps would turn into 6,000-8,000 steps. That’s a big adjustment, and you can feel it. You can feel it in your body… You have to find different ways to train your body to get used to a routine; I have to get out and walk in the morning, and it’s just about forming habits and taking care of your body.”
Seifert says he plans to continue making videos, even after the pandemic is over.