Level playing field

FAO Mr Shorts - Head of Physical Education
Big Field
The Great Outdoors
Our School
United Kingdom

Dear Mr Shorts,

This isn't Hogwarts so just what is the magic spell you are casting over the kids in Physical Education lessons?

No, no, don’t worry – I’m not implying anything underhand. We know you're not like the last Head of PE.

But you obviously have a few clever teacher-tricks up your tracksuited sleeve and we tweed-jacket types can’t fathom how you do it.

It's the general attitude of children around you that's been turning scholarly heads your way. I've heard some of our slightly murderous pupils using positive expressions like ‘Yeah, alright’ in your company and referring to you as ‘Sir’, but in your absence they revert to apprentice-gangsters.

When I told a class you’d be covering a lesson next week some of the little creeps hissed ‘Yessssss!’

And when was the last time you actually had to walk from the playing field to the staffroom? Or walk anywhere, for that matter? You are so popular that an adoring crowd of children actually gathers to carry you upon their rugby-player's shoulders wherever you go.

Why are they sucking up like this, the sycophants?

You must admit that, of all the school-subjects, PE is the most akin to actual torture. Yes, PE ticks all the boxes: humiliation for those who can’t perform, physical punishment for those who can, lashings of psychological and verbal abuse for all. And, having eaten mud pie on the field, they have it washed down by a high-pressure, ice-cold shower.

If that list doesn’t bring Amnesty International protesting at our gates I don’t know what will.

And yet they treat you like a sports celebrity. What is this? Stockholm Syndrome? And how do you achieve it?

Is it the torture? No, it can't be that simple... Is it because PE is the only lesson where the girls and boys are herded separately, allowing unhindered bonding between the gender-tribes and their respective PE teachers?

Why do they do things for you they won’t do for the tweed-jackets? And they do things to us they wouldn’t dare with you?

Heaven knows I've tried emulating your success in motivating the gangsters.

‘Your mobile phone and make-up goes away and that’s two laps of the playing field, Chloe . No, I don’t care that your leg’s in plaster – I’m sure Mr Shorts wouldn’t accept such a lame excuse. You know the rules!’

Total failure.

The truth is that the only way I can make kids run is by telling them something like 'stay where you are, I’d like a word, please - nothing to worry about, just your future and the rest of your sorry life.'

I didn't give up.

‘Wakey-wakey! Shane! What are you, Sleeping Beauty? That’ll be ten press-ups!’

And did Shane do the press-ups? No, he did the telling me to fuck off and go fuck myself.

Have you encountered similar barriers to learning in your field? If so, how did you tackle these problems?


Mr Socks

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