It appears I have been under the false impression that P.E., also known as Physical Education, involved you know, physical movement. It seems that it’s more of a theoretical study now. When I asked what my kids did in P.E. I expected something I recalled from my childhood: kick ball, nerf (or regular) dodge-ball, relay races, soft ball, volley ball, soccer, basket ball, four-square, hop scotch, dance games, tumbling, bowling, and of course, the dreaded exercises and yearly physical fitness test. My first grade PE teacher ambitiously attempted to teach first graders basic self-defense. I suspect his youth and ambition underestimated the brevity of six-year-old attention spans. In any case, no where do I recall cup stacking listed as an invigorating sport sure to teach cooperation, burn calories, and foster a healthy sense of good sportsmanship.
To be fair, after checking out “speed stacks” I admit that it is a good way to improve eye-hand coordination, but video games do the same thing and most people agree that sitting on your rear for long periods of time is not conducive to good health.
In case you have the false impression that I was one of those kids, the ones that could run fast, scored every game no matter the game, and was the picture of athletic ability, imagine the exact opposite of that and you have me. Gravity and I share a close adversarial relationship in which I frequently trip over my feet, the ground, or nothing at all. Keeping my eye on the ball never helped, seeing as how my eyes and brain disagreed on the three-dimensional location of the object flying in my direction. As a result, when it came to picking teams, the only people picked after me were those four times my weight. I didn’t totally suck. I loved a good game of dodge ball, even when the dang thing hit me square in the face, or four square, and I only sometimes fell on my butt when playing hopscotch.
I never claimed PE as my favorite subject, but over the course of twelve arduous years I learned about games, I stayed moderately active, I learned good sportsmanship, learned perseverance, and found activities at which I didn’t suck. The news goes on and on about the obesity epidemic, and yet we sit kids down and have the stack cups instead of walk or run a mile, or do jumping jacks. Walking or running doesn’t require special equipment. So, money can’t play a factor, and I happen to know that my children’s school does have equipment for most, if not all of the activities I’ve listed.
Add in the whittling away of recess time, and don’t get me started on the insane rules, such as no running, or touching each other because someone may get hurt, and the system is reinforcing a sedentary lifestyle. This compounds discipline and attention issues because the children aren’t expending any energy and as a result are fidgety and inattentive.
As a parent I’m incensed at the utter idiocy of the powers that be which replaced actual sports with something that at best will prepare our failing education system for careers as, say, dishwashers. When my children say that they move more in music class, which to me means they have an awesome music teacher, than in PE, it confirms in my mind that the system isn’t messed up, it’s broken.
If you really want me to rant, ask me about the absurdity of not giving letter or number grades in grade school, and potentially all the way through twelfth grade.
So, I ask you the public, is this an isolated occurrence? Perhaps they just have a bad teacher? Please, comment and share your stories.