...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

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.

In P.E.!

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.

(deep breath...)

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.



Blogger Claire said...

Never had tests like those when I was in school. My kids? They definitely don't have them; they're homeschooled. I'll mark this as reason number five billion why we do. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I remember having tests like that only in college, at which time I thought many of the things that you wrote about.

Friday, December 12, 2008 12:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy crappola! My kids don't have tests in gym. They have other requirements...like actually playing the sports they are taught.

If I had to take tests in PE when I was in school I'd have never aced gym.

That's just scary.

Friday, December 12, 2008 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger Vodka Mom said...

I agree with Redneck Mommy- HOly crappola!

GYM??????? That gym teacher must be being evaluated this year. That's all I gotta say....

Friday, December 12, 2008 5:24:00 AM  
Blogger Therese in Heaven said...

I think dodgeball was enough of a test for me in gym class.

Friday, December 12, 2008 5:48:00 AM  
Blogger Bijoux said...

YES....my kids have tests in gym...
YES....they bring home study guides that look like yours.....
NO.....they never seem to remember to bring home their gym clothes to be washed.

I've got one up on you......my computer has "PE Sports" bookmarked because my kids also get HOMEWORK in PE! I finally found a site with all the answers and that thing is gold.

I've got two kids who love PE and one, who just like me, HATES it. Esp. the volleyball.

Friday, December 12, 2008 5:52:00 AM  
Blogger The Savage said...

I don't recall gym tests... except physically taxing exercises in shuttle runs and/or how fast it took us to run a mile.

But the thoughts of you running... oh yeah... Lust galore!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008 5:56:00 AM  
Blogger Sailor said...

Our kids have these only if they miss more than a couple days' class in a marking period. Then, they bring home the study guides, fill in the blanks, and perhaps take a test on the material. The test, of course, consists of the same study guide, which the kid then fills in during class instead of at home.

I don't think we ever had anything similar though, we just had to do all the different sports and whatever, as they came up.

Gymnastics unit was fun, I liked having the gals standing on my shoulders and climbing up my body to get there. :)

Friday, December 12, 2008 7:36:00 AM  
Blogger The Stiletto Mom said...

My kids don't have tests in PE but I did in high school. One time, the teacher asked what the term Full Count meant in baseball. I got all excited bc I thought I FINALLY knew the answer to one of the stupid tests and told him it was when "all the members of the team are present and ready to play". Yeah, I never tried to answer a question again and he called me Full Count for the rest of the year.

PS: You have gym clothes up there? They just let our kids get all nasty in whatever they are wearing.

Friday, December 12, 2008 7:42:00 AM  
Blogger DKC said...

Whoa. Dude, I am SO glad not be in school anymore! But the daunting fact of having to help them with homework does kind of burst that bubble.

Gym homework? Fill-in-the-blank gym homework? Total suck.

Friday, December 12, 2008 7:45:00 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

So far no homework or PE tests for my kiddos.

By the way, whatever happened to actually getting physical and exercising during PE? Isn't that what they are supposed to be doing instead of paperwork. PE does stand for Physical Education NOT Paperwork Education. Right? I think I am right!

Friday, December 12, 2008 7:52:00 AM  
Blogger Remo said...

I don't mean to tread in an area I probably don't belong but have you had the lad tested for learning-disabilities? He might have a mild dyslexia and qualify for some accomodations for his learning needs. Been there -done that.

A test in P.E.? What a load of hooey. You can thank the NCLB and the NEA for that one.

If it wasn't for PE,sports and band, I would have never finished high school.LOL

Friday, December 12, 2008 7:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure I had tests in gym, but I went to Catholic school, so who knows. Also, was his test generated by the computer from War Games? Because I don't think I've seen that font for a long, long time.

Friday, December 12, 2008 8:36:00 AM  
Blogger ChurchPunkMom said...

i'm no help.. we home school.. and i? failed PE. yup. then i did summer school PE.. it was AWESOME. we went bowling.

my word verification: hakinkfi... rad

Friday, December 12, 2008 9:11:00 AM  
Blogger Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Tests in gym? yep

Tests in art? yep

Tests in ceramics? yep

Just waiting for Connor to tell me has a test in....LUNCH.


Friday, December 12, 2008 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Bunny said...

O. M. G. Tests in P.E.? Of course, perhaps a few written tests in P.E. would have gotten me "A"s instead of "B"s and I would have been valedictorian of my class!

There are rules in table tennis?

What happened to awkward and embarrassing square dancing in P.E.? That's what we did in my day.

P.S. His handwriting isn't so horrible. I've seen much worse in my son's classroom. And at least your son is okay with his bad spelling. My son totally freaks if he spells something wrong and rubs a hole in the paper trying to erase all evidence of his horrible mistake. Then he bangs his head on the nearest wall or the floor. I am not exaggerating.

Friday, December 12, 2008 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Lipstick Jungle said...

Tests in gym - I wouldn't remember.

I occupied the second to the last stall in the back row on the left side. I had some terminal disease I believe back then - yep - pretty sure it was terminal.

I had to break out my Encylopedia Britannica (scary that "back then" we got excited to receive them as a gift because by George, we could get edjumicated! [and they had nudie pictures in them]) to look up what I was going to call it, but I am sure it meant I could not participate in anything that needed me to change into gym shorts and TENNIS SHOES (I have an aversion to athletic apparel still), sweat even a drop, or get wet (I AM allergic to Chlorine, so those "your period is not an excuse" lectures were all unimportant to me - nothing was getting me in the pool!).

Oh, and the spelling thing - I recognized a few words from a "paper" my daughter wrote recently. Its got to be an 11 year old thing!

(my verfication is "ingstedj" speaking of spelling errors. ingested?)

Friday, December 12, 2008 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger CT Mom said...

Tests in music: Yes - now included in the No Child Left Behind crap

Tests in p.e. or art: Not yet, but wouldn't be surprised

Good thing they didn't test when I was in gym. I did fail a high school music essay that I had to write because I missed a concert. I didn't write it cuz I thought I was one of the music teacher's favorites. He failed me anyway.

Friday, December 12, 2008 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Chasity said...

Deep dark confession time: I got to the second Blank statement, started to have flashbacks of trying to decipher my high school physics textbook, started hyper-ventillating, and skipped on to the next sentence to avoid the stress.

I thought the whole purpose of gym class was to teach how to deal with stress in a healthy manner, not to stress a child out with cryptic tests. Holy Pointless Batman.

Friday, December 12, 2008 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I hated P.E. But written tests?? Insult to injury.

Friday, December 12, 2008 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Brian o vretanos said...

It's funny, but you get the impression that kids aren't coming out of the education system any better educated or prepared for life than in the past, despite all of the advances.

One thing that does seem to have improved since my school days is the literacy skills of PE teachers ;-)

Friday, December 12, 2008 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Swirl Girl said...

When I was in high school - you actually needed more PE credits than English credits to graduate.

...before there were Mastadons even.

Friday, December 12, 2008 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to the physical fitness tests I continuously failed throughtout elementary and middle school? Those were the days...

Remember that giant rope you had to climb? I bet they got rid of that. What happens when kids FALL off that darn thing? That teeny, tiny three inch thick mat is going to save them? HA!

Never took a test, though.

Friday, December 12, 2008 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

In middle school, I was the fat nerdy kid (not yet the elite athlete I would become in my 'maturer' years. . .) And, back in the day when Corporal Punishment (no, he wasn't the 'school disciplinarian') was still the common practice (now you understand just how really old I am. . .), I got my one and only swat for a bit of ill-timed flatulence in gym class. . .

Friday, December 12, 2008 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Biscuit said...

I failed PE in high school once because I almost never "dressed out" to play. I sucked at sports and it was embarrassing, so I just took the avoidance route. Backfired. I had to take PE over again. D'oh!

Friday, December 12, 2008 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger blissfully caffeinated said...

Ok, I'm going to apologize in advance for my foul mouth.

That is fucking ridiculous. A study guide for PE? Who are they kidding? And since when is *table tennis* a school district sanctioned PE sport? There's not any athletic ability involved. What happened to the good old days of mushball and volleyball and just being told to go run until the end of the period? That's what PE should be. Not incomprehensible study guides and Table Tennis.


Friday, December 12, 2008 1:03:00 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I can remember taking a test or two in gym at exam time. My daughter has had some tests also, and when she took summer school gym for advanced credit for this year, the teacher made them keep a notebook and they had to write an essay at the end, detailing what they liked about the class, what should be changed, and what they learned. I think gym at school is pointless. By the time you get dressed and then taking time out to get redressed, you have maybe 25 minutes. And you only have to take it half the year. How does that help anybody?

Friday, December 12, 2008 1:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not a test — it's Mad Libs!

"In doubles, the BLANK becomes the next BLANK and the BLANK of the BLANK server becomes the BLANK."


"In doubles, the WOODCHUCK becomes the next CHRISTMAS TREE and the BUTT of the BOLOGNA SANDWICH server becomes the OTHER BUTT."

(sorry. I spend too much time w/3yr-olds.)

Friday, December 12, 2008 3:04:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think the PE teachers are trying a little too hard to be recognized by their peers.

Friday, December 12, 2008 3:13:00 PM  
Blogger Me said...

I remember having to take gym & phys. ed. (which was bookwork!) It was completely stupid!!

Friday, December 12, 2008 7:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I took taekwondo in college (shut up I was a yellow belt, be afraid) we had to take oral tests with terms and stuff. Written tests though? WEIRD

Friday, December 12, 2008 9:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My kids have written PE tests, It drives me crazy. WTF?

Friday, December 12, 2008 9:56:00 PM  
Blogger San Diego Momma said...

Never had a written PE test. Only tests I remember in gym were those lame Presidential fitness test things where you had to do like 5 sit-ups to pass.

Ah, those sweet, sweet days of poor physical fitness...

Saturday, December 13, 2008 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

My kids do have tests in PE. But then again, we're in the number one public school system in Ohio. My guess is that you live in a highly rated school district and the teachers are working (overtime) to earn that reputation.

Saturday, December 13, 2008 9:38:00 AM  
Blogger musingwoman said...

I hated PE when I was in school! Too much judging and peer angst.

"hold me closer, tiny editor"


Saturday, December 13, 2008 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Christina Lee said...

wow, that one baffles me....
but I would have rather taken tests than had to change into those damn (catholic school) uniform shorts....ughhh. I dreaded it- that and the locker room!

Saturday, December 13, 2008 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Trooper Thorn said...

I thought the ball just went back and forth until it hit the net or fell on the floor. Is there something more?

Saturday, December 13, 2008 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sports clothes need washing?

Saturday, December 13, 2008 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol! Hi ladies, I'm Ned, 42, yes single, in Charleston, SC. I graduated high school in '84, was in middle school in the 70's, and we absolutely had tests! Yes, we played a lot of sports, and did stuff to be healthy, but we had tests too. Don't ever recall homework for PE, but we did indeed have tests and that, along with participation, determined our grade. I LOVED PE!

Saturday, December 13, 2008 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Gym class tests??? WTF??? WE JUST PLAYED GAMES...That is kinda weird...But I have found I am screwed when I decide to have kids... They are now learning things I didn't learn until I was in highschool!!! CRAP!

Saturday, December 13, 2008 6:09:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

I can confirm that no, they never had a written gym test. That's weird.

But I am familiar with the making up missed gym classes. It seems that today's gym teachers aren't buying that note from home anymore. When Eldest was REALLY sick in
8th grade they made her come in on weekends and make up the classes!

Saturday, December 13, 2008 7:35:00 PM  
Blogger kimmyk said...

i dont remember taking tests like this in gym class. i do remember gym class though...it's where i tried to hide out in the bleacher section away from the watchful eye. or i passed out basketballs to the rest of the class in hopes of getting out of it...

god i hated middle school gym class. and the damn wire baskets that i had to put my gym clothes in...

oh the memories are flooding back now....gross.

Sunday, December 14, 2008 6:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My kids take tests in PE. I find it utterly ridiculous and frustrating. They also take tests in Drama class. DRAMA!!?? My kids are 11 and 17.. trust me.. they have the drama thing down pat!

Sunday, December 14, 2008 7:12:00 AM  
Blogger That girl from Shallotte said...

I need to go to my happy place now. The memories of being picked last (and in some cases never picked at all) are too much to bear. Sigh. I wish I was a little bit taller.

Sunday, December 14, 2008 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Sherendipity said...

That `P.S.` made me cackle out loud.

Sunday, December 14, 2008 6:58:00 PM  
Blogger Bee said...

I remember having a test for the health portion of PE. Or maybe my PE teacher moonlighted(lit?) as our health teacher? It was so long ago I don't remember! ::sobs:

Sunday, December 14, 2008 7:23:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I agree. Tests for PE are ridiculous. I think PE was just a pass/fail class when I was in school. If you showed up, you got an A.

Sunday, December 14, 2008 7:24:00 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

I remember one year in junior high a one term substitute PE teacher tried giving us written tests and the headmistress put a stop to it as soon as we complained. I remember her saying that PE was for physical fitness and team building not memorizing rule books. Word Sister Magdalena, word.

Sunday, December 14, 2008 8:18:00 PM  
Blogger Lollie said...

Umm, yeah...we had tests in gym. They were called the sit-up test, the arm-hang test and the 50 yard dash test. We were also tested on climbing the rope, dodging the ball and, excitingly, hitting the target with an arrow - yep, that's right, we dabbled in a little archery in Junior High gym. Gym is also known as physical fitness, emphasis on the physical. Here's what this is...it's the result of a really lazy gym teacher. I'll bet he's fat and smokes. And he has a comb over. Oh let's go whole hog. He also has a small penis.

Sunday, December 14, 2008 9:37:00 PM  
Blogger FTN said...

I haven't had the chance to comment for like a week. Have you missed me?

In college, I took every volleyball elective that was offered at my mega university. Volleyball. Advanced Volleyball. Walleyball. And it was fantastic. Then I played on the club team. I lurve the volleyball.

In high school freshman PE, however, I was fairly uncoordinated and unknown, which meant being picked near last. We actually had to do WRESTLING a couple of times in PE. How awful is THAT?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 8:38:00 AM  
Blogger cristian said...

The only time I had a test in P.E. class was when me and my fellow classmates just drove the teacher mad and she had to do something. We are all supposed to have an F for that, but she forgave us.
Fitness Gym

Tuesday, December 01, 2009 11:51:00 AM  

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