Monday, October 24, 2011

PE - Worst School Subject - Or Worst Teachers

For the most part I liked school and the subjects I studied. I don't particularly remember having a favorite subject but there was one I couldn't stand – PE. It had more to do with the teachers I had in elementary and junior high school than the subject.

Our elementary school PE teacher, Mr. Galbraith, probably was ex-military because he sure taught PE like we were in the military. Everybody had their assigned spot in the gym where we did our calisthenics: jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, etc. Mr. Galbraith would walk around like a drill sergeant counting out jumping jacks and making sure everyone stayed in their spot. Sheesh.  

On the positive side, every once in a while he would get out the big giant parachute. I always thought that was fun standing around the edges of the parachute, going in a circle, making it wave, throwing it up while still holding the edges and everybody would go underneath the parachute while pulling it down over us. The other activity I did enjoy was rope climing. I can remember reaching the top of that rope for the first time and feeling a real sense of accomplishment. I also remember getting rope burn sometimes if I slid down too fast.

Then in junior high school, we had Mrs. Watts. She was worse. Her grade was based on athletic ability and she would walk around while we would do our calisthenics with her grade book marking down whatever it was that she marked in it. Part of our grade was taking athletic tests such as how many baskets you made out of ten. What really made me mad about that was the “star” athletes of the school would take the tests, do well, but cut class all the time. Mrs. Watts didn’t seem to mind it because she still gave those girls As on their report cards, while the rest of us….well you can guess.

Showers were mandatory at the end class and there was Mrs. Watts standing next to the showers with her grade book making sure that we all took our showers. If you didn’t get wet enough, she would send you back to shower some more. Good grief!

I remember having PE for the first period of the day and we would have to go out and run the track. Often times it would be drizzling or foggy and always miserable; particularly since I hate to run.

Then the worst thing happened for eighth grade; I had to have Mrs. Watts again! However, shortly after the school year started, she had to take an extended leave of absence. Her misfortune was our gain because the substitute was awesome! She made PE fun and graded us on our effort. She didn't emphasize showers. From then on PE was fun and I enjoyed the other PE teachers I had the rest of my school career as well.

Amy Coffin's series, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is a series of blogging prompts that "invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants."

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum


  1. Most of my PE teachers were OK to good, but it was still my least favorite subject.

  2. Michelle, I'd forgotten (or blocked out) how much I dreaded PE until I read your post. I too had a miserable experience with it in junior high school. I guess there's some memories we treasure and some, well, not so much :)

  3. I agree with, Shelley! PE was the worst for me. But, there was a time when we had Bowling for PE . . . that I did enjoy and it was fun. One of the worst times was when we had swimming first period . . . the hair-do was ruined for the day! Teachers . . . terrible!

  4. I had a couple PE teachers who were ex-military, too. What's up with that?

  5. Both my middle School and high school required students to shower in those group shower rooms after gym class. In the case of our middle school gym teacher, she stood there and watched everyone shower, and made us stay in the shower for a minimum of five minutes, or else we were sent back in.
    In high school, our gym teacher didn't stand and watch us shower, but we had to walk up to her after each shower and open our towels up wide to prove that we were wet. Many of us found it rather awkward at the time.

    I guess times have changed? The YWCA that I swim at is used by a local high school girls swim-team. Those teen girls choose to walk around the locker room in the nude like their allergic to clothes or towels. They stand around carrying on conversations in the nude, and do their hair and makeup in the nude.