My story of physical and health education

My story of physical and health education

For the new class—EDCP 320: Physical and Health Education—we’ve been asked to write a reflective story on our experience with physical health.

Here are the questions I’ve been asked to consider:

  1. What is your story about Physical and Health Ed teachers?
  2. What stories do we hear about PHE teachers?
  3. What stories do we hear about students in PHE?
  4. What is your story from PHE?
  5. How might sharing our stories teach us about ourselves and affect our teaching practices?

My Story

As you can see by the image I chose to represent this blog post, my PHE story isn’t the most positive!

Of course we see high school PHE teachers in movies being very aggressive and not very friendly and then there’s also the stories of sexual misconduct. These are cultural sterotypes, or ‘tropes’ as people like to call them nowadays.

In my own life, the most remarkable thing I can say about my PHE teachers is that none of them were remarkable. I literally can’t remember a single thing about any of them. Not their names, not what they taught me, not how they behaved…. Nothing. Isn’t that odd?

What I do remember is some of the very embarrassing things I was asked to do in PHE. For example, drills and tests. I remember this constant feeling of not being good enough, of seeing my body as a failure. I hated getting changed into gym clothes, and that feeling of imminent doom filling my body with adrenaline. And not the good kind of adrenaline that comes from facing a challenge, but that horrible anxious adrenaline that makes you feel empty.

It wasn’t all bad

It wasn’t all bad. I liked dodgeball and capture the flag, kick the can, etc. I loved swimming and I had two winters of skiing PHE when I lived in Fernie. That was really cool. And I loved those whole-school sports days or field days where we did all kinds of games and sports, team-building. Bean-bag toss, running with an egg, running with legs tied together to someone else, etc.

And I can’t blame PHE for my feelings of shame around my body. It definitely didn’t help, but it wasn’t the cause of my issues. I do think when I teach PHE in my practicum, I want to create a space where people feel comfortable in their body.

My teaching practice

In general, I think this activity of just reflecting on my experience has helped me figure out a few things:

  • I valued games as a kid
  • I valued seeing my own progress, rather than seeing my inadequacies
  • I valued special opportunities to try things I didn’t normally have access to

Going forward

  • Instead of valuing how ‘good’ my students are in a particular sport, I want to value how much effort they give and how invested they are in their learning.
  • This makes me want to do a project where students look at their fitness and keep a record or write a story about it.
  • Could there be an option for students to choose which sport they want to do?