Friday, March 20, 2009

Physical (Phew!) Education

Today's subbing gig took me to the gym. I'm going to be there Monday too but fortunately they're going to be starting something new. Today was the last day of gymnastics skills. For an elementary school of Kindergarten to 4th grades, that involves the rings and a rope. Sounds like torture, doesn't it? It was-for me! My job was to be stationed at the rings. What the kids do is stand on a pile of 3 thick mats, grab the rings in both hands, kick their legs up, put their feet in the rings and hang there a couple of seconds. The second ring skill was to flip all the way over and back again. My job was to grasp the kids by their right wrist with my left hand and help them over with my other hand. This doesn't sound like a huge deal but think of doing it with several classes of 20 kids-over and over. Added to that is the fact that some of those kids weighed in at 80 pounds. The more athletic or agile kids did pretty well on their own but as you would expect the overweight kids needed a lot of help. By the end of the day, I had received a pretty good workout. Thank god we switch to basketball Monday. Now, what's a basketball again?


gael lynch said...

Okay, Mr. Shackwell, you can do it! Having gone to Catholic School, we never had gym. Our gym was actually the church! So, when I got to public high, I was in for a rude awakening, and so were my gym teachers. I hated gym...never saw myself as able to do anything, especially of the gymnastic nature. The rings! God. I had no upper-trunk strength. I was a pure wimp. I'll bet you were very kind to those kids that couldn't do it. One of them would've been me...but I was pretty darn skinny back then. You could've flipped me with your pinky!

Anonymous said...

I started out as an elementary Physical Education teacher and can attest that there is not a subject area students love more. From your description, you helped these kids do a "Birds Nest" and a "Skin The Cat". But what you really did was give each student success as a gymnast that they will recall for many years and a feeling of self-worth and accomplishment. I'm sure you could have used some Ben-Gay and a few Advil at the end of the day but that's the price you pay to help build self esteem among students. I also had no physical education until 9th grade, when I entered Public Junior High School (remember them?) after attending Catholic Elementary School and it took some time for me to catch up with some of the physical skills of my peers. You helped put these students ahead of the game in terms of feeling of self worth when you strain your back "spotting" them for gymnastics skills for a day. By the way, a Basketball is a big round rubber ball that bounces.

George Stockwell said...

Thanks for the encouragement from both of you. Rich, your take on the situation is extremely valid. I took great pleasure in seeing the look of happiness on a child's face who struggled with these skills and finally mastered them. You were right by the way about the names of the games although I think the hanging one was something about a bat! And thanks for reminding me what a basketball is!