Erik and Laura-Marie Magazine

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

movement #12

In order to get my adult ed teaching credential, I had to take a test called the CBEST. Erik and I journeyed to Santa Barbara, and I was almost late, but I passed nicely. It was like the SAT test—sharp pencils, tension, lots of seriousness, and strict time limits.

Taking the CBEST and having a Master’s degree meant I could become a substitute teacher. Did I want to become a substitute teacher? I tried to figure it out. Somehow I went for an observation of a special school in Bishop called the Jill Kinmont Booth school, which I call Booth school.

Booth school is special. Most of the kids are there because they got kicked out of regular school. They’re tough, mostly, or very unmotivated, or unusual and impatient. They’re likeable. Booth school doesn’t run a regular program: the classes are smaller, music is a required subject, and some subjects are team-taught.

I might really like to teach at a school like Booth if I could handle getting a high school teaching credential and if I could get the kids to listen to me (which is doubtful).

But I wanted to talk about Movement. Instead of PE, they have a class called Movement. It’s not necessarily about getting sweaty. I’m not sure of the philosophy behind it. On the day I observed, the small group of students and their two Movement teachers were playing a game that involved as much thinking as moving.

When I was in high school, I had to take PE my first semester. Then in subsequent years, marching band counted as my PE credit.

But I was daydreaming about PE yesterday and thought how much better it would have been if PE was really Physical Education, if you actually learned things, if you could strengthen and better your body as opposed to simple physical torture like “go run a mile” and getting graded on that.

I would have loved to take yoga, a simple stretching class, or some kind of dancing like ballet. Maybe that would have changed my life for the better. Strength training might have been useful also, if the weightlifting room hadn’t been the domain of so much exclusionary testosterone. Self-defense would have been great, or martial arts, or gymnastics. None of these choices was offered to me.

Erik told me that in Minnesota, public schools do have gymnastics teams, which really surprised me.

All I have from high school PE are blurry memories of playing volleyball on asphalt and thoughts of running, running, running. I don’t think God made my body for running, but I don’t think my PE teachers really cared much about my body. They seemed unhappy, and I don’t think they liked teenagers.

My thought is that if you’re going to do something, do it right. Public schools should either make PE a real learning and growing experience, or just cut it. High school is such an empty charade!

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