There's a pretty widespread view of physical education teachers as the "dumb" ones, only one step above the custodial staff. In many cases, this is unfair and ignores the critical role of school-age PE education in a country where 42% of the population is obese. It's worth noting that this figure is far lower in Europe, where exercise is seen as a central part of a comprehensive education.
Instilling a love of sports (the kind you participate in, not watch), physical activity, and general health in young people is very much an admirable calling. In addition, as sports team coaches, physical education teachers often possess a social status belying their academic credentials.
These are more difficult to obtain than most people think. There's no college-level course entitled "How to Toss a Ball". Instead, subjects include kinesiology, human development, physiology, curriculum design, administration, biomedical principles, and nutrition.
Being a physical education teacher is about more than promoting a healthy lifestyle in students. They are often role models, teaching children non-academic values like integrity, teamwork, self-respect, and discipline.
This means that, in addition to a love of exercise and competition, students thinking of going into physical education should be able to create a positive learning environment for kids with a variety of abilities. They need plenty of emotional intelligence, including knowing when to be assertive and when compassion is needed.