Physical Ed Or Physical Dread?

Physical Ed Or Physical Dread?

Emily Wendlandt, Reporter


     Physical Education, or gym, even though most teachers frown upon that name, has actually been apart of school curriculum since 386 B.C. In Ancient Greece. Plato’s school called, Akademia, “The Academy” believed physical activity was just as important as an intellectual one. Obviously, phys. Ed has changed immensely since the gladiator days and although physical ability is become becoming less and less important, the United States still believes it should be apart of the school system. In fact, the official U.S. website dedicated for fitness states, “The goal of Physical Education in American schools is to develop physically educated individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity.”

This statement makes gym sound like a walk in the park, but for Belvidere North students, most see it as a hard sprint, gasping for breath and dropping G.P.A.

     First of all, the physical education system starts with a country wide fitness test. Students take a series of tests that fit them into a health hierarchy, with three spectrums, excellent, healthy and unhealthy. These results give teachers an idea of what your literal strength and weaknesses are. The tests are also split up by boys and girls, where the boys are having to score much higher on most tests than girls. In some instances, it’s understandable, like how the push-up tests excellent requirement is 16 for girls and 36 for boys. In other cases, however, boys have to meet a requirement that’s unfair in comparison to girl scores. The pacer test, for example, requires girls to meet a 36, while for boys, the standard is over 70. In a test that’s built on endurance, boys and girls shouldn’t have as strict of a difference in test scores. I’ve sat through countless days of P.E. and have had to watch boys pant and wheeze their way to a healthy goal. The gap between what makes a boy and girl healthy, shouldn’t be so noticeable that you can physically see the strain it puts on the person. If reaching over 70 on a fitness test is meant to be healthy, most of your students shouldn’t be struggling to meet it.

     Physical education use to be just that: physical. Running towards the ball, catching whatever’s being thrown, participating as much as you possibly can to receive full credit for the day. Gym use to be an easy A, as it should be. Not all of us are fit to be olympians or athletes and the school system shouldn’t treat us like we all can strive to be those. Participation points nowadays are split between in-gym activity and homework. Which seems far enough, until you realize what these assignments entail. Over a majority of our grade now is based off of these new online assignments that remotely have nothing to do with what we’re actually learning. Junior year, I received the prompt for an online assignment. The prompt read: Pick two dream vacations you’d like to go on. Find the price of airfare, hotel fare, and food budgets. Then search heart disease and lung cancer. Compare hospital bills to the price of your vacation, then write what you can do to avoid said diseases. Wait. What? This, people, was an actual assignment. Long story short, I refused to do my online homework out of rebellion and ended gym junior year with a low C.

    Physical education should go back to what it use to be in elementary school. No uniforms that could end up giving you a referral if you forget to take it out of the dryer, no fitness tests that are demeaning and straining, and no assignments that are pointless and can drop your grade, even if you are participating in class everyday. Fitness in schools should teach you the fun of being healthy and active. I despise gym everyday. It’s not because I’m lazy or unfit. It’s simply because the way Physical ed is absolutely dread and needs to change.