Gym teacher's burpee challenge keeps students active at home

A Chicago-area physical education teacher found himself facing two dilemmas when school switched to remote learning.

"I was sort of slacking in my own exercise," said Joe Schallmoser, athletic director at The Avery Coonley School. "I was also struggling to figure out how to teach PE remotely."

He found the solution in the form of a 100-burpee challenge, figuring he'd do them with his students.

But his penchant for corny one-liners suddenly thrust Schallmoser into an even bigger role: purveyor of burpees and bad dad jokes for dozens of students.

He said he's since logged around 800 miles in his car for more than 140 different stops, since children from across the Chicago area attend the Downers Grove school.

Schallmoser starts his visits to each student's home by riffing on a handful of dad jokes bound to make you cringe. Although, eighth-grader Ksenia Baatz promises, "They weren't that bad."

He then does 10 burpees - a conditioning exercise similar to a push-up combined with a star jump - with each student.

"All these like curveballs have just been thrown at us," said Baatz, who also expressed gratitude for her teacher.

"Thank you for taking all that and putting on something that's amazing and wonderful and a memory that we'll be able to keep and cherish for years to come," she said.

"We're all there for our students... we love our students," said Schallmoser of his project, which has continued well beyond that first 100 burpees!