Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Flashbacks

I like to walk the kids in the stroller down to the little park near our house to play. This park happens to be right next to a junior high school, right next to the athletic area of the junior high school to be exact.

There is always a PE class outside when we're there, doing jumping jacks in their squads, pushups, playing games, running...

This takes me back in time to my own junior high and high school PE classes. Which I HATED. I am one of the world's least athletic people (unless you count ping pong, which I am semi-okay at). I DREADED, and I mean DREADED, when we'd have to run the half-mile, mile, and worse yet, the mile and a half. I was HORRIBLE at pullups (darn that presidential fitness testing!) and would have to resort to doing the flexed arm hang instead. I always felt like the teachers expected that if you weren't overweight or injured, that you should be some stellar athlete.

I always marveled at how PE teachers essentially got paid to make kids' lives miserable. SURE there were the kids who excelled at running and sports and who finished the mile several minutes ahead of me and the kid with the broken ankle. But for the rest of us, it was torture! I also thought it was real easy for the teacher to tell us not to stop to walk, or that our time wasn't fast enough--they just got to stand there all day in pj's (oh, excuse me, warmup clothes) holding a stopwatch.

I got straight A's in Jr. High, all except for my PE class in which I earned a B. I never earned "honor shorts", I always had the basic, "I'm not good enough" orange shorts as opposed to green, blue or gold. I tripped and fell during the mile and a half once. And it was utterly HUMILIATING having to perform a solo gymnastics routine during the gymnastics unit in 8th grade--I couldn't even come out of a backbend on my own and I had to have a "spotter." LOSER!

So, as I sit and watch my kids zoom down the slides at the park, I hear the students counting off jumping jacks in the background. Today I saw them playing some sort of street hockey game. It just about gave me chills hearing the PE teacher yelling things like "Keep your stick down!" or "Keep your eye on the puck!" So to all the kids suffering through physical education at Tommie Kunst Junior High School, my sympathies are with you!

10 comments:

kristen borland said...

that cracks me up! i never was able to participate in jr high or high school p.e. (because of my illnesses). i felt left out. but i'm beginning to think it was quite a blessing! isn't it great to know you can get into college even if you stunk at p.e.? (a lot of good that did you and me!!) ha!

lisa said...

PE was horrible, I agree! I am not athletic, never was. Can't they just give you an alternative class? In college I tried different sports that were less exerting. Like golf and bowling. My golf teacher said I had a perfect swing! Now if I could just make contact with the ball...

HawkOsky said...

This seems like an odd post for me to "delurk" on...but when I was a junior in high school, my gym teacher told the class to take a "nice easy jog" around the track. I ran at my absolute top speed, and even then was still breathlessly straggling along behind most everyone. So. I feel your pain:) I've been reading your blog for several months and have enjoyed it so much. My husband and I are in the process of adopting siblings from Ethiopia. Your blog has been an inspiration to me. Thanks. Rhonda Waal http://twomorewaals.blogspot.com

Samantha said...

Junior hight PE was the worst and it was my only non-A as well because I always forgot my gym clothes and you weren't allowed to participate in "street clothes." I think I was just too skinny to be athletic. I was such a rebel that I refused to run the mile. I think I walked. Wild dogs would be the only thing to get me to run!

Anonymous said...

I loved PE! Not because I was super good at it, I too couldn't do a pull up for Presedential Fittness testing. I was just coordinated enough to particiapate in everything. I also loved experiencing different sports like soccer and basketball that I had never played before.

In eighth grade I had the PE teacher that was known never to give girls an A. Sure enough I had a B on my progress report. This didn't make sense. I got A's on all our tests. Yes we took academic tests on all the sports we played. I also ran with the fastest group. We would leave in waves, the slowest kids first, then another group would leave a minute later, and then the faster kids. (I can see how the slower kids wouldn't like that so much). So I pleaded my case. Apparently I lacked some skills like making baskets and serving volleyballs. I explained that I had a 4.0 and didn't want it to drop because of PE. She allowed me to run an extra mile after school and bring up my grade. Sure enough I was the only girl in the class to get an A, and I got a neat little plaque at graduation.

I also loved teaching PE when I taught fourth grade. The majority of my class was beyond a healthy weight and these kids had poor nutrition on top of it. I felt like it was my duty to teach them how to play outside and take care of themeselves. Those darn video games and televisions are really hurting kids! Each student had a personal goal for the mile. They were only competing against their best time, and not someone elses. I would also give incentives some weeks. If they could run three laps without walking, they could skip the last lap and have free play. AND yes, sometimes I would team up with another teacher and run with them! Kids were excited when they got in my class because they knew they would get to do PE everyday, even though they had to run the mile weekly (many teachers did it once a month)!

So I am sorry to all of you that had such bad experiences in PE. I hope your kids can overcome adversity and make the best out of it. My bad experience was AP Economics! Yuck. My only C in high school!

Rachel (Mike changed some stuff on our site and it still has a few kinks)!

Jeannett Gibson said...

PE is terrible. I can appreciate that schools want their students to be physically fit, but it doesn't actually help anything. Basically, it's boring, kids hate it, and a waste of time when kids can be learning something that they might actually retain (other than hating exercise).

Anyway, I always cringe when I drive by schools and see kids in those terrible PE uniforms.

Rachel said...

We should all be working out at least four days a week for a minimum of forty minutes. Are you doing it? That's what PE is suppose to teach children. I'm still speaking of elementary school btw. It is actually the only school subject in California that has a state mandated time frame. 200 minutes every two weeks. Why? So we don't all end up with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease! PE, like all the other academic areas teaches discipline. Do you think I wanted to read the Scarlet Letter? No, I did it because it was assigned. I also didn't want to run the mile second period and have to go about the rest of my day after sweating. For some reason, I didn't get tired and went out for cross country the next year.Who knew I had stamina? I know most girls hated it, especially in junior high when it was embarrasing to have a bra on, and in high school when you got all sweaty, but it is still a valuable part of a general education. Okay, off my soap box and on to other things.

Lindsey said...

I was laughing histerically while reading your entry Brianna. You will truly be able to appreciate my story: Each month at my middle school, an academic department has to put on a luncheon for the rest of the staff. My science department always does a Chili day since our month is January. The P.E. department usually does a sandwhich spread... but not this year. This year they scheduled the luncheon on the day when the kids have to do the monthly mile run. The P.E. teachers put tables and chairs out right next to the track. Our invitations to the luncheon declared that breakfast and lunch food would be available all day long. We were able to go on our prep or at lunch and eat a lovely spread while watching our students suffer through the agonizing mile run. As they ran by, they could see and smell our delicious treats. As a middleschooler I would have been very bitter, but as a teacher, I endulged and enjoyed every moment of the sweet payback for having to put up with these hygenically challenged adolescents all day long! It was a good day.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brianna! I have been reading your blog off and on for some time now- your stories about your kids are too funny!! Anyway, I just have to add my junior high memories. I remember Junior High all too well. When I was in seventh grade I had PE during the period when the eigth graders were having lunch. To make matters worse- the course for running the mile or mile and a half was right through where everyone was eating. If that wasn't bad enough (which trust me, by itself should be considered cruel and unusual punishment). I had a crush on an eight grader and he knew it and would yell to me as I was running! Talk about embarassing. I guess it wouldn't have been so bad if I was even quasi-atheltic but I was always a back of the pack runner. I was never cool enough to earn "honor" shorts- not even good enough to iron a star patch to my oh so cool orange PE shorts! I, like you, was never able to do a pull up and was left to "flexed arm hang" as long as possible. I don't think I ever lasted longer than ten seconds =(. Isn't is amazing how vividly you remember details about junior high PE? I am not sure if I could tell you all the names of my teachers in junior high (or even high school) but I will ALWAYS remember running the mile during 5th period through the "scary" eighth graders!!

June Bowlin

Brianna Heldt said...

Hi June! It's good to hear from you! A fellow Atascader Junior High/High Schooler, too. I'm glad I'm not the only one who despised their PE program. Fortunately I never had it during the other grade's lunchtime. Do you remember Mrs. Heaton? She was so mean!

Lindsey, heehee, that is hilarious! I don't know how you put up with the hygenically challenged part. Ewwwww!

 

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