There are times when you can let things go, but there are other times that certain ignorances must be addressed. Upon my morning scroll down the Twitter feed, I came across @joeyfeith's response to an article written by Jessie Olien. The article is entitled:
You need to read this article to understand Jessie's point of view and can find the article here. A big part of me really sympathizes with Jessie as her poor experience with PE obviously stems from the fact that she must have had some very poor teachers. We all know that a teacher can make or break a student in terms of confidence and self-esteem. However, there is much more to this article than a lousy PE teacher. An excerpt from Jessie's article can be found below.
Every PE unit was a means for me to prove just how useless and uncooperative my body was. The cycle began with cautious optimism—maybe I’ll hit/kick/serve it this time!— followed shortly by a missed kick or fumbled serve that showed the class and teacher that I was terrible at everything. The culmination of each class was the annihilation of my self-confidence.
I am not here to bash Jessie as each person is entitled to their own opinion. It is important to note that Jessie also brought a low self-concept into PE class and it is this low self-concept that was forced even lower by poor PE teachers. Regardless of individual skill level, it is the teacher's responsibility to bring out the very best in every student -- make them all shine. A good teacher can make every single student feel special and give them a sense of empowerment. It is unfortunate that Jessie obviously never experienced teachers like this.
Team sport is an absolute necessity in PE. Team sport helps to foster essential life skills such as cooperation, communication, sportsmanship, resiliency, persistence, problem-solving, planning, strategizing, camaraderie, compassion and learning to support and encourage one another. These are the essential traits in which team sport should be deeply rooted. Had Jessie experienced one of my classes or the classes of other very good teachers within the PE network on Twitter, her perception of PE would be very different today.
I encourage Jessie to to check out a number of blogs and PE websites out there such as:
As Joey Feith says, there still remains a number of PE teachers out there that go through the motions, collect their pay checks, and turn countless kids off sports/active lifestyles. I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. Something must be done to make poor teachers more accountable for their actions.
To conclude Jessie states that:
The solution seems pretty simple. Start teaching kids how to do the things they can do, better. Most kids can run and jump and skip. Let them. They don’t have to race or see who scores the most points. Teach them about what they can do rather than what they can’t. Show them their bodies can be a key to their future happiness, not an obstacle to it.
Jessie, rest assured in knowing that what you say above is happening in a number of PE programs nowadays. Personally and professionally, my life is about making a positive difference in young people's lives. There are a vast number of passionate and very caring PE practitioners out there doing the very same thing on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing your opinion and I sincerely hope you take the time to look at the websites above and to consider, with an open-mind, that physical education has taken on big change over the last several years. It is wrong that you were made to feel this way in school.
KAUST Faculty, Pedagogical Coach. Presenter & Workshop Leader.IB Educator. #RunYourLife podcast host.