Paul Goguen

St Louis Elementary teacher Paul Goguen instructs Grade 4 student Nelly Bryan during a recent practice of the St. Louis Gymnos Gymnastics Club with the help of club member and former St Louis student Paisley Drouin. Mr Goguen has spent his entire teaching career, 37 years, at St Louis Elementary. He is currently the Grade 5-6 French Immersion and phys. ed teacher. Mr Goguen also started the gymnastics program at the school. Melissa Heald photo

Paul Goguen always knew in high school he was going to become a teacher.

“In gym, I always took charge of everything and even when I was younger,” he said. “I was always the leader.”

His love of sports was what lead him to teach physical education.

“What better career than teaching sports,” he said.

Originally from Moncton, New Brunswick, Mr Goguen has spent his entire teaching career, 37 years, at St Louis Elementary School.

“As soon as I graduated, I had a job here to teach French Immersion,” he explained. “I saw an article in the paper and they wanted a French Immersion teacher. I thought I would come here for one year to get some experience and go back home, but it never worked. The next year they offered me the Phys. Ed position, so that kind of kept me here.”

These days, he spends more time in the classroom than the gym, teaching Grade 5-6 French Immersion with Phys. Ed in the afternoons.

“The years have been good,” he said. “You get better as you get older. You learn to appreciate your job, appreciate the kids and appreciate the community... It’s a learning career. You learn your whole career.”

Mr Goguen said it’s been a joy teaching students at St Louis Elementary.

“You get to know them for them seven years, and being the Phys. Ed teacher, I get them every two days, so you get to know them and when they leave after Grade 6, you kind miss them, but then the next group comes in, so, yeah, you get attached to the students.”

Mr Goguen is responsible for starting the gymnastic program at St Louis Elementary, which he started in his second year at the school, first teaching the sport through the regular Phys. Ed program which eventually led to establishing the St. Louis Gymnos Gymnastics Club.

“The kids loved it so much,” he said. “Gymnastics is a natural thing. They want to jump, hop, hang, swing, flip.”

Mr Goguen said the gymnastics program has shown students they have to work hard if they want to achieve a goal.

“Gymnastics isn’t just doing the skill, it’s learning how to do physical and mental preparation,” he said. “They have to commit to a program, they have to eat well, they have to exercise and they have to train hard... It teaches them a lot.”

Mr Goguen added, on top of gymnastics, St Louis Elementary has done well in sports overall, winning a provincial title in every sport an elementary school can participate in, which includes cross country, wrestling, track and field, gymnastics and badminton.

“My goal was to at least win one provincial championship in all the sports that we’re allowed to go and we’ve accomplished that with the boys and the girls,” he said proudly.

Despite teaching for close to four decades, Mr Goguen said he never feels old. And when it comes to retirement, Mr Goguen says he takes it year by year.

“I love getting up and coming to work every morning and I don’t think there’s been a morning I don’t want to come to work,” he said.

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