gym class zero
That up there? That's a study guide my oldest son, a sixth grader, brought home this week for a test he has tomorrow.
Before I let loose with a mild rant, I'm going to ask that you try to do something that I often find difficult, and that is to please look past my son's horrific handwriting and ragingly poor spelling, which, oh my God, hold me closer, tiny editor, makes me a wee bit crazy. Seriously, the use of 'b' when he clearly means 'd' is something we've been addressing since he was in utero! If I had a blue editor's marker, I would slash through this thing like I was in a back alley knife fight.
OK. Onto the ranting!
First, who in the hell has tests in P.E.? Do any of your kids take tests during gym class? Did any of you? This is foreign to me! Back in my day, there were no tests in gym! When I was in middle school, (every!!) gym class was spent playing volleyball. We'd often use giant stones we unearthed after killing a mastodon, who's fur we'd then spin into a net for our games. Oh, sure, we may have discussed rules and how to keep score, but games were often played like we were warriors pitted against the other in Thunderdome. I assure you that today, I would have no clue what the rules of volleyball are. It doesn't matter now, and it didn't matter then, because the gym teacher had his favorite students who were always on the winning team, and the losers, which often included the girls with the biggest boobs, ran laps in defeat.
Let's just say I ran my ever-lovin', big old sports bra stuffed ass off, and that if I so much as hear the word volley today, I start to panic and - just like I did back then - look around for the nearest public restroom to hide out in.
You don't even want to know what I do when I hear the word ball.
Oh, but it's a brave new world, and today there are standards and benchmarks that must be met in schools. One way my school district is working to meet them is with a goals-based curriculum, which includes testing and homework assignments in P.E. Gone are the days when a person with a chronic need to hide out in the bathroom during gym (ahem) could just bring a note signed (but quite likely forged) by her parent when they missed gym. No. When my son missed one session because he was away from school, he had to write a one-page paper on a sports activity of his choosing. With notations! You damn well know that neither of his gym teachers read that paper (although, based on the child's penmanship and spelling, I suppose that was to the mercy of the instructors).
By some weird fluke that apparently took place while the cells were dividing, my son, the product of two athletically inept individuals, was born with scary incredible athletic powers, and it is those powers that have saved his butt a couple of times during previous P.E. tests. He may not remember to brush his teeth every morning, but he can see a play in his head like nobody's business, and then chart it out on a test. That's a real plus when you consider the second part of my rant, which is the fill-in-the-blank massacre that have been the study guides.
Take a look at this study guide, which is on the rules and regulations of table tennis. Studying off of this is a nightmare. Every few words, a sentence is marred by a pothole that must be filled in with a term, which makes quizzing my son an exercise (is there a restroom nearby?) in frustration. Earlier tonight, I wished him luck as I read the following: "In doubles, the BLANK becomes the next BLANK and the BLANK of the BLANK server becomes the BLANK."
I shouldn't complain. The study guide for the test following the flag football unit looked like it had been through a gun battle, it was so riddled with blanks. When your statements read: "Conditions BLANK under a player's control keep them from making a serve or return." and the BLANK is filled in with "not," perhaps it's time to consider something a little different, like a jaunty true or false motif, or the always successful multiple choice option. Something a little easier (and more effective than fill-in-the-blank) for parents to quiz their little athletes so they don't spend so much time bitching and referring to their child's P.E. teacher as evil spawn and/or things far worse.
I'm not admitting I did that, I'm just saying there's a pretty good chance I did.
Perhaps my complaints are rooted in some post traumatic stress issues I have related to my former P.E. days. At least that's what I blame on my inability to run in a circle or rectangle to this day. I'm just glad it's not me taking a test tomorrow, because even after reviewing this study guide for the past four nights, I still don't have the first clue about the rules of table tennis.
I'm drawing a gigantic blank.
P.S. In the four months my son has been in school, he's only remembered to bring his gym clothes home once to be washed, thus, not only does my son spell for shit, he just might smell like it, too.