20 votes

Gym class is so bad, kids are skipping school to avoid it

37 comments

  1. [17]
    patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    This is U.S. P.E., but I'm curious if other countries do it better, and how your experience influenced your desire to exercise as an adult. Feel free to share horror stories, or conversely, why...

    This is U.S. P.E., but I'm curious if other countries do it better, and how your experience influenced your desire to exercise as an adult. Feel free to share horror stories, or conversely, why you enjoyed P.E. in school.

    Here's mine:

    I was promoted a couple of grades, but tall for my age. Though I was genuinely much less coordinated than my older classmates, I'd get picked on by gym teachers who thought I was faking clumsiness. I'd miss balls, trip over my own feet, couldn't figure out how to jump ropes or climb them... And I had asthma. If I could punch every gym teacher for each extra lap I had to run when I couldn't breathe, I'd need a couple of days. There were team sports, filled with the humiliations of always being last chosen. Locker rooms were parades of physical insecurity and bullying.

    In high school, I cracked both wrists falling off a ladder, and was happy that I wouldn't have to participate in the sadistic ritual for a few weeks. Of course, the P.E. teacher looked at the doctor's note, splints and wraps, and told me he'd give a failing grade if I didn't get down and do push-ups. I needed to keep my GPA up for scholarship money, so I did them.

    [It wasn't all horror - by the time I got to high school, I'd discovered that swimming didn't trigger asthma attacks, and could dive competently. I was a success and had fun with intramural volleyball, but wasn't interested in joining the interschool team.]

    As an adult, I still shy away from team sports and group physical activities, and won't have anything to do with classes where instructors are yelling at me. I like physical activity solo or outdoors, but think that P.E. teachers are part of the obesity problem, not the solution.

    28 votes
    1. [4]
      eladnarra
      Link Parent
      I disliked PE. I wasn't a terribly uncoordinated or or unfit kid, but I didn't have many friends and didn't find competition fun. Two instances stick out in particular. One day it was raining so...

      I disliked PE. I wasn't a terribly uncoordinated or or unfit kid, but I didn't have many friends and didn't find competition fun. Two instances stick out in particular.

      One day it was raining so all 4 classes were stuck in the gym. They split us into two groups and lined us up along the bleachers. The idea was that we'd have a race. A basketball shooting race. One by one we'd run to the center of the court, grab the basketball, shoot, and pass the ball off to the next person on our team.

      I was terrible at shooting. I'd never actually been taught, and these hoops were taller than the ones we usually played on. So I missed. And missed again. And again. And probably again. All while 2 classes of students were yelling at me to score, because the other team was racking up points. It was so humiliating, and so I gave up. The coach told me to keep going, but I didn't.

      The second instance was on a "free day." Normally I stayed indoors to play four square, but this time I decided I wanted to play soccer. I went outside with the other kids and stood in line as kids chose teams. I was expecting to be chosen close to last, since I hadn't played before. But nope, I wasn't chosen at all. Completely ignored, I went back inside, only to be told that because I'd chosen to play outside, I couldn't come back in. So I spent all period sitting on a bench outside watching other kids play soccer.

      It didn't put me off physical activity entirely, but it's been over 15 years and I still remember how that felt.

      16 votes
      1. [3]
        bike
        Link Parent
        I disliked PE too. For me, the main reason was self-consciousness. Although I also wasn't unfit, I was constantly anxious during PE about how I looked. Early teen years were the most awkward for...

        I disliked PE too. For me, the main reason was self-consciousness. Although I also wasn't unfit, I was constantly anxious during PE about how I looked.

        Early teen years were the most awkward for me. I feel a pang when I see teens today and know how much self-consciousness so many of them suffer for no good reason.

        I suppose I was bullied once or twice, but most of my bad PE experiences were minor events (minor to everyone but me). At the time, my teenage brain they felt they were giant catastrophes.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          hungariantoast
          Link Parent
          I could just be misunderstanding what you mean, in which case I am about to look like a fool but... One time we had to play basketball in teams. Our PE class, which was boys and girls, usually did...

          I could just be misunderstanding what you mean, in which case I am about to look like a fool but...

          One time we had to play basketball in teams. Our PE class, which was boys and girls, usually did warmup exercises in the gym together and then would separate based on sex for the rest of the glass. The girls would bugger off and do whatever it was they normally did, and us guys would usually do the same.

          Well not this day. Nope, this day the bleachers were pulled out, everyone was in the gym, and we were playing some goddamn basketball.

          I'd never played basketball before.

          So we get on the court, I've got a general idea of what I'm supposed to do and what I shouldn't do since we've watched like five matches by now, but I'm still a noob.

          Well, it was a close game. First team to five points or some shit and we were keeping up pretty well.

          My stupid ass passed the ball to a guy on another team and cost us the match.

          I got a lot of shit for it that day, all in good fun, but it embarrassed the fuck out of me and to this day I cringe at the thought of playing basketball. I doubt anyone else even remembered it a week later and it was never brought up to me again but yeah, it's messed me up.

          Rest of my PE experiences were pretty alright though. One of the more common games the guys would play would be to roll this massive inflatable ball around a football field until we could toss it between the field goal posts. So fifteen on one team, fifteen on another, hounding each other and throwing our masses into the giant ball. So fun...

          4 votes
          1. bike
            Link Parent
            Yes, that is a great example. I had a similar experience playing soccer in PE when I was hit in the face with the ball as goaltender and the other students laughed.

            Yes, that is a great example. I had a similar experience playing soccer in PE when I was hit in the face with the ball as goaltender and the other students laughed.

            2 votes
    2. msh
      Link Parent
      I live in Spain. My school was in a small town, in the middle of nowhere. I remember one PE teacher told us we were lucky to have a school between mountains and trees. Once a week she would go...

      I live in Spain. My school was in a small town, in the middle of nowhere.

      I remember one PE teacher told us we were lucky to have a school between mountains and trees. Once a week she would go with us to run in a small path between the woods. It was breathtaking, and a beautiful memory I'm lucky to have.

      11 votes
    3. [6]
      SunSpotter
      Link Parent
      Personally I'm not sure even I would have had the guts at that time, but I feel like the correct response to the wrist story is to legit just walk away, call you parents and have them threaten...

      Personally I'm not sure even I would have had the guts at that time, but I feel like the correct response to the wrist story is to legit just walk away, call you parents and have them threaten legal action.

      Not because I'm some sue happy guy, but because it would shut that shit down in an instant and probably get the coach a good talking to.

      4 votes
      1. [5]
        patience_limited
        Link Parent
        At the time, I wasn't on good terms with my parents. I was deeply concerned about keeping the scholarship because it would let me move away to college the instant I graduated. Also, that P.E....

        At the time, I wasn't on good terms with my parents. I was deeply concerned about keeping the scholarship because it would let me move away to college the instant I graduated. Also, that P.E. instructor was the head coach for the football team, and no one touched the football team in that community.

        4 votes
        1. [4]
          Ludo
          Link Parent
          As a foreigner I think it's disgusting that schools have (commercialised) sports teams and invest more money into it than actual education. It's really alien to me that schools have all kinds of...

          As a foreigner I think it's disgusting that schools have (commercialised) sports teams and invest more money into it than actual education. It's really alien to me that schools have all kinds of programs besides education.

          8 votes
          1. [2]
            hungariantoast
            Link Parent
            The importance of sport teams in proportion to the rest of a school's identity can definitely be an issue. For what it's worth, I went to school in Western North Carolina, attending one of the two...

            The importance of sport teams in proportion to the rest of a school's identity can definitely be an issue.

            For what it's worth, I went to school in Western North Carolina, attending one of the two schools in the area that are locked in a very popular and long running rivalry. It's one of the most popular high school rivalries in the country, and the annual "big game" sometimes draws crowds of over 15,000 people, larger than the population of both rival teams' towns combined. It generates a shit ton of money, some of which I believe gets factored into the schools' budgets for the next year.

            I'll be the first person to tell you how the popularity of the two schools' (American) football teams skews the social and financial environments for faculty and staff. There were a handful of occasions during my years of attendance where athletes got off soft for some really wicked shit, and of course we all knew why, but it never caused a big enough stink to make a big deal about it, nor would the support ever have existed to do so.

            Especially among the athletes, there was bred a culture of homophobia, racism, and Christian fundamentalism. Even worse, aside from the coaches, parents, athletic students, and your usual contingent of rednecks, a member of the administrative staff of the school openly made homophobic remarks during my time at the school. The lady still, to this day, works as a member of high school administration, though now at another high school. There was a fuss of course. The more liberal and the openly gay students were pissed off, and there were several instances of passive resistance and the school's resource officer hauling kids to detention, but no one gave a shit about some students getting mad about how "fags belong in Asheville, not Haywood county."

            So my point is, when you breed these kids into the vicious brotherhoods that form around football teams, and put them in the presence of adults who propagate those attitudes, you get a very toxic and fucked up environment for anyone who isn't normal, then they put those fuckers up on the altar just because they played some football and raised some money.

            I don't think schools shouldn't have sports teams and compete against other schools, but I attended a school that serves as perfect evidence of how it can go wrong, and how we lose sight of what's important about the athletic activities, the community.

            7 votes
            1. patience_limited
              Link Parent
              So we had similar experiences. The high school I went to was a major feeder for not one, but two, national championship Big 10 football colleges. The community was fully, rabidly behind the school...

              So we had similar experiences. The high school I went to was a major feeder for not one, but two, national championship Big 10 football colleges. The community was fully, rabidly behind the school teams and wealthy enough to fund additional faculty and facility resources for sports. It was a big school campus, with about 4,000 students, but there were more PhysEd instructors than science and math teachers.

              The nerd sibhood that let me survive high school included the gay kids, the proto-trans kids, the art "fags", the band "fags", the science "fags", the computer "fags", the one Black kid, the Jewish kids (me and my brother), the Hindu kids, and all the other outsider tribes collectively known as "fags" or worse (except the kiss-ass National Honor Society kids, but that's a different historical rant).

              You could say we were generally uninterested in sports.

              The sports culture at our school operated with complete impunity and no oversight, more like Lord of the Flies than an orderly educational process.

              At the hands of the PhyEd teachers and the premier athletes, we could tell stories of insult, abuse, violent assault, molestation, rape, and hate crimes up to and including attempted homicide (if you count beating a boy's head against a locker room urinal to the point of skull fracture, for suspected homosexuality). Again, as you say, the athletes got off soft.

              3 votes
          2. Ellimist
            Link Parent
            I live in Texas. We’ve commercialized high school sports to the point we have high school football stadiums more expensive than college stadiums. It’s ridiculous but it’s the way it is down here

            I live in Texas. We’ve commercialized high school sports to the point we have high school football stadiums more expensive than college stadiums.

            It’s ridiculous but it’s the way it is down here

            6 votes
    4. [2]
      Hypersapien
      Link Parent
      That so-called teacher needed to be targeted with a lawsuit (and possibly criminal charges) and lose his job .

      I cracked both wrists falling off a ladder, and was happy that I wouldn't have to participate in the sadistic ritual for a few weeks. Of course, the P.E. teacher looked at the doctor's note, splints and wraps, and told me he'd give a failing grade if I didn't get down and do push-ups.

      That so-called teacher needed to be targeted with a lawsuit (and possibly criminal charges) and lose his job .

      3 votes
      1. patience_limited
        Link Parent
        Different time, and a town where taking a football coach to court would have gotten you tarred and feathered. Keep in mind this was in Michigan, which still has a sports culture not much less...

        Different time, and a town where taking a football coach to court would have gotten you tarred and feathered. Keep in mind this was in Michigan, which still has a sports culture not much less toxic than Texas.

        My story is by no means the worst of what took place at the time. I knew one suicide and multiple attempts at suicide among the boys I went to school with, plus a couple of hospitalizations for locker room or sports field assaults, largely courtesy of that high school P.E. department.

        2 votes
    5. stromm
      Link Parent
      Between 7th and 8th grade, and I mean over Summer break, I grew 9". I went from short and chubby to tall and thin. The worst part is that my spine was now about 1/2" shorter than it should be and...

      Between 7th and 8th grade, and I mean over Summer break, I grew 9". I went from short and chubby to tall and thin. The worst part is that my spine was now about 1/2" shorter than it should be and 4 vertebrae were 30% deteriorated. So I work a fancy back brace that wouldn't let me twist, bend or lift. I was also much weaker in my upper body than before.

      I had a doctor's pass for PE. Didn't matter to the instructor. He kept trying to find things I could do, even though my orthopedic team had a long list of things I was not allowed to do for years.

      So I sat bored in class, watch everyone else having fun, doing written assignments. SUCKED.

      When kids tried to make fun of me, the teacher ignored it. Honestly, it didn't bother me. I'm the youngest of four with dozens of cousins, so I was never bothered by what people said.

      2 votes
    6. CrazedGeek
      Link Parent
      I enjoyed my PE classes for the most part, although I think my experience is somewhat atypical. In my elementary school, there was a general sense that winning or losing didn't really matter, so...

      I enjoyed my PE classes for the most part, although I think my experience is somewhat atypical. In my elementary school, there was a general sense that winning or losing didn't really matter, so no one made a fuss if someone played poorly. In high school, my classes were told something like "as long as you show up on time and do something vaguely active for an hour, you pass", which was great. It provided just enough incentive to exercise while not being so overbearing as to turn me off exercise for life.

      2 votes
    7. BlackLedger
      Link Parent
      It is very much the attitude of the teacher. I never enjoyed PE but sort of lucked out in high school in that the boys PE teacher mostly used it as an opportunity to work with the guys who were on...

      It is very much the attitude of the teacher. I never enjoyed PE but sort of lucked out in high school in that the boys PE teacher mostly used it as an opportunity to work with the guys who were on sports teams. Everyone else was really just left alone to do some basic calisthenics.

      On the other hand, the music/band teacher was a former PE teacher who had injured herself and made the class absolutely miserable.

  2. [3]
    MacGuges
    Link
    I recall dreading PE in elementary school. Just as the article described, I was routinely targeted for bullying. Though I wasn't particularly fat, I was uncoordinated. Whenever we would split into...

    I recall dreading PE in elementary school. Just as the article described, I was routinely targeted for bullying. Though I wasn't particularly fat, I was uncoordinated. Whenever we would split into teams, I was picked last.

    By the time I had entered high school I'd written off all sports as pointless. I knew where I excelled and I decided I was superior for preferring science and literature to sweaty Physical Ed. It wouldn't matter that I was no good at throwing, dribbling or catching.

    Still, I loved scouting activities. I remember enjoying the hiking and canoeing quite a bit. If similar activities could've been organized into PE at school I imagine my childhood attitude would've been quite different. As it is, I did not develop a genuine appreciation for bodywork until much later.

    12 votes
    1. cptcobalt
      Link Parent
      Yeah, as a big kid in middle/high school this was the hardest part for me—I was bullied: getting called all sorts of names (accurately identifying "fag" as a word that would indeed hurt me), being...

      Yeah, as a big kid in middle/high school this was the hardest part for me—I was bullied: getting called all sorts of names (accurately identifying "fag" as a word that would indeed hurt me), being pushed around, targeted, or being picked last.

      My parents forced me to do PE my freshman year of high school, and would not permit me to do any electives, which pretty much made that year miserable, because the bullying managed to continue, just at a different school. It made that year terrible, and I did whatever I could to avoid that class.

      And it did not set me up for success later in life—all of the good and positive work I've done now for my overall health is completely and entirely irrelevant to my time in PE. That said, I'm pretty scarred and am deeply uncomfortable when entering a gym, even though I know nothing bad will happen. I can only exercise on a routine at home.

      6 votes
    2. patience_limited
      Link Parent
      I loved the hiking and canoeing we got to do in Scouts, and continue them to this day. It was a much healthier environment and attitude towards physical culture than anything encountered in school.

      I loved the hiking and canoeing we got to do in Scouts, and continue them to this day. It was a much healthier environment and attitude towards physical culture than anything encountered in school.

      1 vote
  3. [3]
    mrbig
    Link
    I get the impression that in America PE is very focused on competitive sports, which is not the case in Brazil. Around here sports are definitely part of it, but with emphasis on health and...

    I get the impression that in America PE is very focused on competitive sports, which is not the case in Brazil. Around here sports are definitely part of it, but with emphasis on health and recreation instead of competitiveness.

    11 votes
    1. [2]
      SunSpotter
      Link Parent
      Honestly I'm not sure. I think it varies a lot based on what the school is known for. At my school they definitely tried to get people interested in sports and incorporate them into the class, but...

      Honestly I'm not sure. I think it varies a lot based on what the school is known for.

      At my school they definitely tried to get people interested in sports and incorporate them into the class, but they never focused on one thing. It was a large sampling of different routines and sports that would last maybe 2-3 days, and included stuff like dance and weightlifting.

      Overall the majority of our days weren't even spent doing anything in particular, just some pushups and warm up exercise and then some kind of running activity.

      6 votes
      1. mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        That's somewhat more similar to what I experienced, but in my schools PE was never a very big deal, to be honest. It wasn't hard at all, and you could easily get away with just sitting in the...

        That's somewhat more similar to what I experienced, but in my schools PE was never a very big deal, to be honest.

        It wasn't hard at all, and you could easily get away with just sitting in the stands if you wanted to. High-school was a bit more sports focused, but the teachers made up all kinds of fun games, like volley with giant balls and such. It was all for fun, really. I never ran on a track or did anything too strenuous. I think the idea was to make us learn to like physical activity, no to have an immediate impact on our health.

        They didn't have enough time for that anyway (except for some rich people schools, our education system is extremely focused on having a lot of long classes and there's zero focus on extra-curricular activities). Informally, I don't think PE is even considered a real or serious class in most places.

        6 votes
  4. [6]
    moonbathers
    Link
    I really liked gym class, partly because I was relatively athletic and enjoyed physical activity but also because it was the only time I was able to get off my ass during the school day. I think...

    I really liked gym class, partly because I was relatively athletic and enjoyed physical activity but also because it was the only time I was able to get off my ass during the school day. I think this was a good article; I'm surprised to see so many people hated it. I'm glad that they acknowledge that the solution is to change physical activity and not just remove it completely.

    9 votes
    1. [3]
      Greg
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I was the stereotypical fat nerdy kid at school, and I can absolutely echo what @patience_limited has said across a few posts about pain, humiliation, and injury. For context I'm now in my 30s,...

      I was the stereotypical fat nerdy kid at school, and I can absolutely echo what @patience_limited has said across a few posts about pain, humiliation, and injury. For context I'm now in my 30s, relatively healthy, and I've already completed my morning gym session before work today. I still can't imagine taking part in a team sport - just the thought is making me anxious.

      A lot of that does come down to teachers with a bad attitude, and I know some people would say the same thing about their experience with mathematics, but it did seem to be the standard for the PE teachers while it was the exception for other subjects.

      With the benefit of hindsight, though, my biggest concern is that it was always treated exactly as you described it: a chance to get off your ass, but not a chance for education. There's so much that would have been amazingly valuable to know as I was growing up, but the only instruction ever given was "it's <whatever sport> today" or "try harder".

      A few hard-won highlights I've spent the last decade or so picking up:

      • Broadly speaking, diet controls your weight and exercise controls your fitness. The two are linked but separate; just try running off a large soda vs switching to sugar free. On this note, it concerns me that the article kept mentioning obesity in the context of exercise rather than nutrition.

      • There's a distinct limit to how far you can efficiently push yourself. Muscles need rest days. Going that extra 10% is no good if it causes an injury that puts you out for two weeks. It took me many, many years to get out of the cycle of starting a routine with great motivation, injuring myself within the first month or so, and failing to go back afterwards.

      • Technique, in whatever exercise you're doing. Surely this should be the basics of PE? It ties closely to the injury point above, as well as ensuring that you're making the best use of all the effort you put in. I've ended up spending good money with personal trainers to fill this gap in my own knowledge, and that was only after un-learning the implication that intuition should be enough!

      8 votes
      1. patience_limited
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        A thousand times, this. When I first started to exercise seriously on my own, I simply assumed that if you weren't hurting or exhausted, you weren't doing it correctly, and that you were supposed...

        A thousand times, this. When I first started to exercise seriously on my own, I simply assumed that if you weren't hurting or exhausted, you weren't doing it correctly, and that you were supposed to just push through that stage.

        This might make a useful mindset for soldiers under fire or competitive athletes in matches, but it isn't a sustainable way to set exercise goals on a normal basis. It wasn't until I started paying attention to form in weightlifting, and dabbling with Tai Chi, that it even occurred to me there were other ways of approaching physical activity.

        My original attitude towards exercise also lead to more than a few play-dates with physical therapists over the years - an expensive, painful way to learn how to engage with my body correctly.

        Exercise physiology and sports nutrition are actually deeply interesting (though the latter has a substantial bullshit factor), and I'd probably have enjoyed P.E. more if we'd gotten some instruction on hows and whys.

        6 votes
      2. botanrice
        Link Parent
        Perhaps PE classes should focus some more time on individual exercise and sport. Could help show people who don't like team sports that there are alternatives. I didn't learn about many of the...

        Perhaps PE classes should focus some more time on individual exercise and sport. Could help show people who don't like team sports that there are alternatives. I didn't learn about many of the individual sports (athletics, swimming, cycling, etc.) until I was in high school or beyond, though I was more of a team sports player anyways.

    2. [2]
      patience_limited
      Link Parent
      There were a couple of problems that might have been specific to the time - most of our male P.E. instructors were ex-military, and it showed up in the form of boring exercise drills. The schools...

      There were a couple of problems that might have been specific to the time - most of our male P.E. instructors were ex-military, and it showed up in the form of boring exercise drills.

      The schools I went to were proud of championship boys and girls teams in various sports, so we unathletic ones were essentially training for competitions we'd never participate in. I had one female middle school P.E. instructor (former pro tennis player) who seemed to understand that we needed to just have fun - hence, my first lesbian crush, and my sudden mastery of dodgeball skills.

      5 votes
      1. moonbathers
        Link Parent
        Being cannon fodder for the athletes is really lame. I went to both a small school and one that wasn't good at much athletics-wise so I didn't have that issue. I agree completely about having fun....

        Being cannon fodder for the athletes is really lame. I went to both a small school and one that wasn't good at much athletics-wise so I didn't have that issue.

        I agree completely about having fun. It's possible for kids to be active and enjoy it.

        6 votes
  5. [2]
    Dovey
    Link
    Most of our Phys-Ed classes were endless volleyball and basketball, or torturous field hockey (what do you mean there are no left-handed sticks?), or something equally tedious. I had no interest...

    Most of our Phys-Ed classes were endless volleyball and basketball, or torturous field hockey (what do you mean there are no left-handed sticks?), or something equally tedious. I had no interest in these activities and didn't want to work at them very hard, so I did not enjoy the class. Never having been one of the athletic girls or a team player, I didn't think sports were for me.

    There were rare exceptions, like the few days a year when we learned folk dancing. Finally, something fun! Except everyone else hated it with a passion. One memorable day in high school our teacher was sick, and the substitute arrived with a record player and a new album: Abba's Super Trouper. She put it on and introduced us to the latest exercise craze, aerobics. This was great, but it was a one-off, and we were right back to volleyball the next day.

    The only other activity of interest was a cross-country endeavour called "running the rocks." My high school was beside an escarpment, and the class was sent out to make its way over rocky hills and through cedar trees. The real threat of falling down a crevice and dying added spice to the run. (Well, I say "run" but really I probably walked most of it at a comfortable pace. Since the teacher didn't go with us, she couldn't prod me to move any faster.)

    If Phys-Ed could have offered the kinds of movement I enjoyed, like dancing or hiking, maybe I'd have found it worthwhile. I talked to a teacher a few years ago who insisted that classes are much more fun now, with a variety of activities to suit everyone, but I don't know how true that is.

    Also, seriously y'all, this is what we had to wear. No wonder that class scarred me for life.

    5 votes
    1. patience_limited
      Link Parent
      Mercy, that uniform! I still remember the joyful elementary school P.E. day where we got to play with a parachute - basically, synchronized running around and in and out with the silk billowing...

      Mercy, that uniform!

      I still remember the joyful elementary school P.E. day where we got to play with a parachute - basically, synchronized running around and in and out with the silk billowing over our heads. There were rare days of square dancing, or just running around flinging balls at each other. Mostly, though, it was regimented exercise drills (the instructor whacked the sluggards with a plastic wiffleball bat) and conventional team sports - bleah. On the really bad days, cross-country running or flag football. I kind of enjoyed soccer and field hockey, even if last picked, but softball was grueling.

      4 votes
  6. Tatia
    Link
    I loved PE. I was naturally good at sports, but was also unfit, so I was bad at running, but had the knack for everything else. I enjoyed team sports, even though I would almost always get picked...

    I loved PE. I was naturally good at sports, but was also unfit, so I was bad at running, but had the knack for everything else. I enjoyed team sports, even though I would almost always get picked near the end of team selection. I liked learning about the rules of different sports, and trying something new. I just hated running laps around the field.

    5 votes
  7. [4]
    doas
    Link
    In the UK, or at least in my school, we had PE twice a week up until the end of GCSEs (age 16). Let us just say that constant rugby and football are not a good match for a pubescent anxious...

    In the UK, or at least in my school, we had PE twice a week up until the end of GCSEs (age 16).

    Let us just say that constant rugby and football are not a good match for a pubescent anxious autistic boy that hated physical contact. Really reinforced into me feelings of worthlessness and self-disgust. It was the cause of a few embarrassing meltdowns and definitely built others up.

    Generally though I don't think PE was bad for other students. The removal of the most athletic into their own class probably helped a great deal. And there wasn't too much mockery. Plus a few times a year we got to do running and stuff like table-tennis. I was still bad at both, but didn't mind because I wasn't letting anyone else down.

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      patience_limited
      Link Parent
      Keep in mind, I'm a couple of decades older than the median Tilder, but it doesn't sound like things have changed much. I can empathize with your situation - I've got a few traits on the spectrum...

      Keep in mind, I'm a couple of decades older than the median Tilder, but it doesn't sound like things have changed much. I can empathize with your situation - I've got a few traits on the spectrum myself. Loud noises and unexpected physical contact are profoundly uncomfortable; team sports are never going to be favorites.

      I think P.E. often suffers from the normative, Procrustean tendencies of Western public schooling. It's cheaper and superficially more egalitarian to put everyone through a standard, one-size-fits-all routine. But in practice, the most successful students are usually privileged in access to resources and attention from teachers. My experience was that P.E. granted opportunities for the jocks to revenge themselves on nerds who were winners academically.

      In the schools I went to, and it sounds like yours as well, physical education didn't offer a separate section for the learners who needed adapted training. It's nice, I suppose, that in your schools, the advanced athletes were given their own class, not defacto encouraged to bully the ones slowing them down.

      I had a couple of nerd-tribe friends with much more severe physical disabilities (cerebral palsy, scoliosis requiring a heavy back brace) than I had. They weren't excused from P.E. classes - they were just left sitting on the sidelines, expected to watch the rest of us attentively. And get hit with purportedly stray balls, "accidentally" shoved or tripped over, and mocked unmercifully. I vaguely recall a parent initiating a lawsuit, and they were finally allowed to take alternative classes in high school.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        doas
        Link Parent
        That's shocking to hear. I think my school would draw a definite line at that, the PE teachers aren't malicious. Mind you my school doesn't have any accessibility for physically disabled students...

        I had a couple of nerd-tribe friends with much more severe physical disabilities (cerebral palsy, scoliosis requiring a heavy back brace) than I had. They weren't excused from P.E. classes

        That's shocking to hear. I think my school would draw a definite line at that, the PE teachers aren't malicious. Mind you my school doesn't have any accessibility for physically disabled students (e.g ramps), and no physically disabled students attend here, so it's impossible to say.

        1 vote
        1. patience_limited
          Link Parent
          The P.E. department was the last bastion of rigid conservatism in an otherwise relatively progressive school system. While physically and mentally disabled students were mainstreamed in classes...

          The P.E. department was the last bastion of rigid conservatism in an otherwise relatively progressive school system. While physically and mentally disabled students were mainstreamed in classes with reasonable accommodations, PhysEd wasn't going to adapt.

          1 vote
  8. Octofox
    Link
    I had one shitty PE teacher in primary school and then a decent one in high school. Over all I feel fairly neutral towards the class. It was fine and probably did me a lot of good. Only disliked...

    I had one shitty PE teacher in primary school and then a decent one in high school. Over all I feel fairly neutral towards the class. It was fine and probably did me a lot of good. Only disliked it in the summer on hot days.

    With obesity becoming such a problem we really do need to make physical activity part of kids daily schedule.

    4 votes