I’ve been thinking about all those PE teachers I had, back in the day, some of my health teachers and the one nutrition class I took to get into nursing school. Just one. . .that’s all I HAD to take to be a nurse. I’ve also done a lot of thinking of the poor job I did teaching my children to eat properly and the lack of nutritional education I had to prepare me for that task.
Teachers are the most unpaid, underappreciated people in the world. While ball players are pulling in millions of dollars to “play” with a rubber ball, our teachers are barely paying the bills, buying their own supplies and taking a beating from unappreciative parents and their kids, who don’t know any better. But, there’s still a hierarchy within the profession as well. At the bottom of that career ladder is the P.E. Teacher. They are always treated like they don’t belong. Every PE teacher, coach or dance instructor I’ve known felt that they weren’t taken seriously. In the movie “Bad Teacher” there’s even a scene where the cute, down-to-earth gym teacher wants to ask the star out on a date. Her first question is: “Aren’t you the gym teacher?” He replies, yes. She quickly responds, “I don’t date co-workers.” They continue their conversation and he tries again. Her response, “are you’re still a gym teacher? Then, no”
Well, here’s where I fight for the poor, underappreciated P.E. Teacher.
P.E. was always the class I took when I needed an easy “A” during a tough semester schedule. It was a planned “rest” period. I had great teachers for these classes and I really enjoyed them. But, I’ll admit I joined in teasing the kid who was “failing” P.E. I mean, really, how can you fail such an easy class, right?
I especially remember my Jr. High teacher, Ms. Palmer. She taught gymnastics and some field sports. She made all of us “wanna-be” gymnasts try out for the track team because she thought running endurance races would make us better on the tumbling floor. And, it did.
I also remember Mr. Monroe, from High School. I didn’t take many PE classes in High School, because Marching Band counted as physical education. (Really?) But, my freshman year, I didn’t join band. I wanted to get a bunch of the harder classes out of the way and band took 3 periods of my day. So, my freshman year, I followed Mr. Monroe around. I ended up being the only girl in a couple of his classes during that year and since one of them was swimming, he didn’t want me feeling harassed by the boys. He’d let me swim laps at the other end of the pool while he had the boys learning water polo and generally engaging in the forbidden poolside horseplay. But, he didn’t just ignore me, over there in my little corner of the pool. He really pushed me to increase the number of laps I could swim each day. We kept a chart showing my progress. He taught me a little bit of strength training to help me increase speed and endurance. He also taught me a few life skills like, how to spike a volleyball to put most of the boys to shame and how to avoid blocks when running in for a lay-up. **Geesh, I’m not competitive at ALL, am I?!
The reason this has all been on my mind is this. . .
There are NO other classes taught in school, that if you fail, or at least don’t pay any attention or remember anything, the results can be fatal or at least life-threatening.
If I don’t know my times tables, I will not have a stroke.
If I can’t conjugate a verb, I will not lose a leg.
If I can’t remember who settled Virginia I won’t have heart disease.
But, if I’d never learned to keep moving and find ways to move, that I LOVE, I could have a stroke, a heart attack, diabetes complications or the dreaded cancer recurrence.
This weekend, I battled my blood glucose (BGs) ALL. DAY. LONG. I raked just a small portion of my front yard and that sent my BGs plummeting. I ate and ate and ate and could not keep them up at all. I tried sitting and pulling weeds, thinking that if I weren’t moving as much, I wouldn’t keep dropping. I was wrong. Apparently, raking is very strenuous, as evidenced by that constant “54” that kept flashing on my meter. I’ve also heard that strenuous exercise can affect your BG for up to 36 hours afterwards. I, fortunately, didn’t see that. . however, I think if I were more regular with said exercise, I would. Who knew?
So, here’s a shout-out to my gym teachers at Benton Jr. High and La Mirada High School:
Thank you for teaching me to take care of my body and I apologize for not paying attention and for thinking your class was just a way to get out of taking something harder. I’m sorry I didn’t pay attention when you tried to teach the few snippets of nutrition and draw my attention to healthful living. Here’s one person that is grateful that you taught us to cross-train, try anything we like that requires physical movement (including raking) as a workout, and always strive to do more, go faster, push harder.
Give a PE Teacher a Hug Today!