Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Tuesday Slice: PE flashbacks


I am covering classes while they have asynchronous "specials" time
The teachers grabbing their laptops with a quick thanks on their way out the door
as they hurry off to plan

Tuesdays for art, Wednesdays for music, Thursdays for Spanish
I love these days
Shapes and Play-doh, singing and clapping, practicing my vocabulary
Especially with the four-year-olds who sing while they draw 
and ask for music every day

But Mondays and Fridays are for PE
Because of COVID, not the PE of my youth with kickball and dodgeball and softball and basketball, the balls refusing to work properly with my hands and feet 
(or was it my hands and feet refusing to work properly with the balls)
the mile runs that left me winded behind my class, always the last to finish
the skills tests that marked me with a B for effort--thank God for credit for trying

Those memories came rushing back as I stood in my library office
Hesitating before duty called me to yet another PE class
Knowing it would be filled with jumping jacks and squats (I can do those), ski hops and floor pushups (nope), kicks and punches (okay), scissor running (my feet don't do that)

But I try, modify, because I know if I don't, they won't
I do my best, make mistakes, laugh them off to squelch the ten-year-old inside of me yelling "You are INADEQUATE"
Realizing that the ten-year-olds in PE can't see her anyway
I'm just that old librarian covering their PE class.


  1. Chris, I enjoyed your humorous reflection. The last paragraph gave me a much-needed laugh. What an engaging slice!

  2. I love this and am right there with you! PE and Art are my weak points. In teacher's college, I was almost trampled by first graders running amok in the first PE class I taught. When I was teaching 4th grade, a student once asked me, "DO we have to do Art with Science again?"

  3. You've painted the reality for us loud and clear - I know that's a mixed metaphor but the scene with Play-Doh and four-year-olds singing while they're drawing is so clear and PE, so loud! Oh my goodness. To think of virtual PE. I was just talking about dodgeball yesterday with a student, online. Remembering that, and kickball... I loved the games but am now firmly convinced we are related as I struggled with the coordination, too, and never did well at the skills tests while friends won "Presidential awards" for their physical prowess. Even as an adult, going back to college, I had to take golf in a scramble for one last PE credit; the instructor frowned at my "form" and said I looked like I was chopping wood ... but he gave me an A for showing up and sticking with it to the end. And - I so know that screaming inner voice, the accusation of "INADEQUATE" - that old obnoxious, inner critic really is about ten! Your raw honesty meet us where we are and makes us smile at ourselves. There's a relief in it. We're not alone in this. Thank you for the kinship, Chris.

  4. P.S. One year for Christmas, my aunt gave me a shirt with iron-on letters which read "Bookworm." :)

  5. Oh, I can so identify. If truth be known, art was what kept me from majoring in elementary education. And those PE tests? I could do all the sit-ups in the world, but not a single chin up! I did love Junior High when we did archery and exercise records! Oh, I'm dating myself here, aren't I? Kudos for trying, modifying, and doing your best!