Movement Journal – September 9th – Maymie

When I reflect on my own experiences in physical education as a kid I have mostly positive memories. I was never a star athlete, but I was fortunate to not have any traumatic experiences. I feel that my teachers did a good job in creating an inclusive and positive environment. But when I think about what sort of PE teacher I would like to be, I think about what sort of values and lessons I would like to teach my students. I’ve realized I am less concerned about teaching them about physical fitness, and more concerned about teaching them about what it means to lead a healthy life – or perhaps helping them define what “health” means to them. I think being a good athlete is only one small aspect of what it means to lead an active or healthy life.

I grew up as a competitive synchronized swimmer and spent plenty of mornings dreading the fact I had to jump into a cold pool and swim a thousand meters. Overall, I think this training taught me more social and emotional lessons than physical. It taught me how to work in a team. It also taught me how to “suck it up” and deal with moments that I wanted to avoid or skip out on. I hope that I can help debunk the myth that gym class is only about physical fitness. I believe the more we, as educators, enforce that health is about the number of lengths you can swim or weight you can lift, the further we will be from nurturing a generation that is physically, emotionally and socially “healthy”.

3 thoughts on “Movement Journal – September 9th – Maymie”

  1. I love your post Maymie! I think traditionally, most people only think of physical activity when they think of a PE class. But it is also critical to include lessons on a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Especially now, when so many children spend most of their time in front of a TV or computer. If teachers can motivate and encourage a healthy, active lifestyle to their students, I think students will find their own interests within PE that will eventually turn into hobbies and passions.

  2. I totally agree with you Maymie! I was also lucky to have mostly positive experiences in P.E., and it was actually my favourite subject in high school. I was pretty excited when I heard we got to take a P.E. class this year… mostly because it’s been a while! The only negative encounter I had was when we had to do Ceilidh dancing during the month of December, in preparation for our christmas school dance. Making members of the opposite sex pick each other as partners at age 13 is completely mortifying! Which makes me think of how we discussed the Hall of Shame activities… I had absolutely no idea some of these were on there (I actually played Dodgeball that night as part of a multi-sport league – oops!). Yes, when you read the explanations on the Hall of Shame website it all makes sense, but part of me wonders how P.C. and sensitive society is becoming. We all played tag, dodgeball and kickball as a child and we turned out ok? Either way, the topic brings up many important issues to keep in mind when delivering a physical education class.

    But you’re right, physical education is more than just being physically fit. I played basketball competitively, and the social and emotional lessons learned (teamwork, dedication, determination, and resilience among many), have been way more valuable than the trophies won (of which there were none – Scotland never wins!). It saved me from taking a potentially more ‘rebellious’ route in my teens, and I have made life-long friends wherever I have moved. So like you say, it’s up to us to pass this message onto our students: physical education is about being physically, emotionally and socially healthy!

    P.S. I was so impressed with the two presenting groups who did a great job for the first week!

  3. Hello Maymie,

    I enjoyed reading your post, thank you for sharing! I also agree that teaching about a healthy lifestyle is very important, so I liked your comment ‘I’ve realized I am less concerned about teaching them about physical fitness, and more concerned about teaching them about what it means to lead a healthy life’. There are absolutely more conditions to being an athlete than only the physical aspect. A healthy lifestyle and healthy mindset is going to promote and create a positive physical experience. Your time as a synchronized swimmer sounds demanding and challenging, so I am sure a healthy lifestyle was needed to allow you to overcome those trials!

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