Friday, April 23, 2010

Let's Get Physical!

As I enter the end of my pregnancy, I am finding that moving around is slightly more challenging than it used to be.  Yes, I get winded going up and down the stairs.  Yes, I can feel my heart pound as I saunter at what I previously would have considered a leisurely pace on the treadmill.  And yes, I find all things dessert highly attractive.  So although I'm told that I "look great for being SO PREGNANT" (Still not sure what this means when people say it but am choosing to take it as a compliment...) I definitely don't feel like my old self.  Which is fine.  Because, YOU KNOW IT'S TRUE, I still am able to put on my high heels from time to time and strut my stuff.  (If only to keep my irrational vow to walk into the maternity ward wearing heels.  I know it's not sane or normal, but it's principle, people.)

Basically, I am feeling as if my mind is the only thing that is physically fit these days and even that is a slippery slope (read: I can't remember shit).  So you'll understand when I paid special attention to this I post today about the Fitness Integrated with Teaching (FIT) Kids Act  over at Ed Week.  I fondly recalled picking my friends up from gym...my formerly slender self that is.  And then I thought to myself...wait a minute!  If schools are going to be required to adhere to and post all kinds of physical fitness standards, I know at least a few places that are screwed with a capital S.

First of all, the idea that schools are going to have to spend more time recording, posting and publicizing instead of teaching, engaging with children and motivating does seem...well, like bullshit.  I mean, we just had Earth Day, people, think of the trees if nothing else!

Second of all, while I am one hundred percent behind the idea that children need to be more active, as well as more food saavy, is it wrong that I am smelling one more thing to be placed upon the teacher's overly full plate?  Are teachers now going to be required to basically moonlight as nutritionists and add a healthy eating curriculum to the mix?  AGAIN, I have NO PROBLEM with teaching healthy eating in schools, but, excuse me if I think this may be one more buck that is passed.

At my former school, we had a ROCK STAR nutrition person who made up fabulous programs, worked with parents to encourage healthy eating at home and hooked us up with a legit farmer's market.  Totally amazing.  Yet also, I'm afraid, not common across public schools. We were lucky.

Sadly, I think in this climate of rampant finger pointing and teaching bashing, I have a feeling this Super Colleague's fabulousness will be overlooked when the Powers That Be see an opportunity to place blame instead of praise.  Because, my friends, not everyone involved in the physical education of my little cherubs was quite so on the ball. 

Before I tell this next story, let me first provide you with the following disclaimer:  I am related to and have a great respect for excellent physical education teachers.  I mean, the idea of having a whistle at all times is tempting, but honestly, I so could not do that job.  HOWEVER, I have also seen the other side of the coin, meaning physical education teachers who are, shall we say, less than physical.

I think picking up your class from gym only to see the physical education teacher quietly balancing her checkbook in the corner, and perhaps paying a few bills, might be a problem under this new legislation.  (TRUE STORY. ) Or maybe reading the newspaper so that it completely obscures your view of the 60 children running around like crazy people with no obvious task.  That could pose a problem under this new bill as well.  I'm also thinking that having your students report back that they never play games in gym because they are banned for life is a wee bit of an educational snafu.  I'm all for consequences when children misbehave but banning a child for life?  Tempting but probably not the best decision ever made.  Or the most legal or ethical one either. 

I can picture it now: PE Standard 1A - Children shall entertain themselves, sustaining a minimum of five injuries per year, while instructor completes personal business.

If that's somewhere in this latest bill, can I just say NAILED IT!

7 comments:

sheldinski said...

And now for being blamed for childhood obesity. It can't be far behind. If we're required to post all this information and send in data (with no financial aid), and surveys then show that children are still obese, who are they going to blame? Yea, I have a feeling it will be us.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that teachers can't be responsible for everything? I don't want to be responsible for this. I'm all for healthy eating and exercise, but this seems more like a personal choice and a choice made at home.

eshyde said...

It's a bit ironic that all over the city they are taking away outdoor time (AKA recess) in place of test prep and literacy blocks but are trying to blame teachers for childhood obesity. Really?

Most schools won't let kids outside if the weather is below 32 degrees. Have we not heard of snow pants, hats, and scarves? This is destroying physical activity and healthy habits. Not to mention it is developmentally INappropriate to expect young children to stay in seats for such extended periods of time. Think of how we (as ADULTS) feel when we have to sit for too long.

Here's an idea for a new post: In defense of outdoor time

LakeTeacher said...

Beginning next year our state will mandate an average of 150 hours per week of physical activity for elementary grades. P.E. and recess minutes will factor into the average, but then additional physical activity time must be provided by a certified teacher or an aide/para under direct supervision of an administrator. Thankfully our school began an activity program several years ago so we already have the time in place, but for some districts this will be a real hardship.
When did schools become solely responsible for EVERY aspect of a child's life? When did parents lose accountability for little Johnny's well-being? In school, my students do not sit in front of a video game or t.v. for hours on end. I can count on 1 hand the number of times we have watched a video (educational or otherwise) in our room for the ENTIRE school year. It's difficult enough to teach all of the standards without adding more to our already overflowing plates.

Laura Swain said...

YES to shelinski! YES YES YES. Why is it a teacher's/the school's/government's responsibility for obesity? TALK TO THE PARENTS for crying out loud. I know my mother would be personally offended if the government swooped in and said, "sorry, we know you're the mother of this child, but we are going to take over parenting from now on, k?"

Pretty sure not friends. These issues are entrenched in our nation's culture, which can only be changed through grassroots efforts, not by federal/state mandated legislation.

Geez, government...just leave us alone!

Janet said...

Mimi, as usual, you hit the nail on the proverbial head. Getting kids fit and keeping them that way is the responsibility of the family. Educating children about health is one part of our jobs, but that education doesn't mean diddly squat if the parents are serving up Mountain Dew and Dunking Donuts for breakfast.

PS: If you haven't seen the new "reality" TV program, "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," you should check it out. He is trying to reform one town, including the cafeteria of one school.

Janet said...

Mimi, as usual you hit the proverbial nail on the head. Getting kids fit and keeping them fit is the responsibility of the family. Keeping records of their health is the responsibility of their doctor, or whoever is in charge of the baby-book.

My job is to educate them about health and fitness, but that education isn't worth diddly-squat when the parents serve up Mountain Dew and Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. I am damn tired of being passed the buck that belongs at home.

We need to reinstate Home Economics the PC term is Family and Consumer Economics. It should be required for everyone before they get a parent license.

Suzanne Desrochers said...

I think that as we take recess and physical education out of schools we are increasing the chances of children to become obese. They are no longer exserting their energy so many children take it on the class by being unattentive.

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