When I was in elementary school, P.E. wasn’t a big deal. We had it only two times a week. We ran laps, played games and had fun. It wasn’t graded like Math or ELA. No stress, just pure fun.
We moved to junior high then everything changed. We have P.E. every day and it is now graded just like Math or ELA. If you’re athletic and sporty, you have nothing to worry about. But, if you aren’t, you will have to brace for everyday PE that includes running up to 2 laps (half mile) and playing team sports that can be new to you, and both are graded.
The change made me curious as to how my fellow students are coping, so I conducted a survey in our PE class with 60 students.
Half of the class classified themselves as athletic and sporty. Among those who are neither athletic nor sporty, 15 students or 25% of the class are worried how their teachers and classmates would judge their P.E. performance; 15 students or 25% are aiming to graduate with honors and are concerned about their grade in P.E.; 10 students or 16% are worried that despite their best effort, they won’t get their desired grade.
Students were asked what they like most about P.E. and the most popular response comprising 21 students or 35% of the class was being able to play different sports activities. Playing with friends and having a great P.E. teacher came next.
When asked what they don’t like about P.E., the top response coming from 20 students or 33% is running. I guess it is because we are not used to running 2 laps or half mile at a time. It gets even harder at the end of the quarter when we are supposed to do 4 laps or 1 mile timed run that is graded based on completion time. I think the school should inform prospective students about this P.E. activity to better prepare them. For the girls, they don’t like it when boys hog the ball and suggested not to allow Co-Ed games during P.E.
Having separate PE games for boys and girls actually topped the list of suggested improvements in P.E. This is because the girls are tired of the way boys play their games. The rest of the suggestions include adding new games; updating the P.E. grade right after every graded activity; students on teams should be picked by teachers to avoid anyone getting left out; and, providing more time to change clothes before and after PE. The PE locker rooms are located outside the main building where most classes are held and with only 4 minutes to make it to the next class without being marked late, changing clothes can be a daily source of stress.
I guess this feedback is worth taking into consideration to motivate students to be more engaged in PE and develop a lifelong interest in keeping fit. After all, PE is just as important as any academic subject because keeping fit is key to a happy and healthy life.