The Question of Change: P.E.

By Marijke Fulton and Jackie DeFerrari

The days of gym classes where we can just relax and socialize with friends may be long gone at Hanover High. The new gym class policy has caused a stir of annoyance among students, but others, especially teachers, deem it necessary. In the past, many students have viewed gym class as simply an elective, slacking off when it comes to participation, claiming that gym counts as barely anything on a transcript; however, that’s all about to change.

The new rules basically consist of three parts:

1) Students are now required to make up gym class when they are absent to avoid losing credit, (8/10 points for one makeup, 6/10 points for the next, 4/10 points for the one after that, and a detention for the last)

2) Students are now to be graded on participation, whether or not they’ve changed, and on their attendance. Each gym class is an opportunity to receive any number out of a maximum of 10 points.

3) Students MUST be wearing gym clothes that have been changed into in order to participate; “just sneakers” is not acceptable as of this year.

Now there are no jeans, skirts, dresses, heels, boots, or flip-flops allowed at all for participation credit, even for walking. (Then again, how many of us really feel like power-walking the mile in heels?)

The good news: our teachers will post on the bulletin board in the gym hallway which days are available for make-ups, and have graciously offered up extra pairs of clothing articles and shoes so we can at least participate…sadly, even then, there’s still no credit to be had.

When asked her opinion on the recent changes, HHS gym teacher Mrs. Bostwick commented, “I think it’s good; it holds people responsible and accountable for the decisions they make.”

HHS student Chris Greeley, who has stayed after to make up a gym class, calls the new gym rule a “good extra credit or make-up opportunity.”

One senior claims that the new rule is “annoying, but undoubtedly necessary …although it’s a bit strict, having to change every single class, no matter the time of day, and then having to stay after even if you forget your clothes in the rush to go to school at 7am, it at least provides structure so that students might be motivated to put in the extra effort for the grade.”

No matter what your opinion on the issue is, I think we can all agree that gym is getting more and more difficult to retain that ‘A’ status by the year. Many students feel that the new rules are too harsh for an elective, and that gym should be an easier class – that the severeness of having to stay after school (which could potentially cut into the clubs, sports, or other extra-curricular activities) in order to retain credit when something as simple as the changing into gym clothes isn’t put into action is a bit too much of an extreme.

However, is making PE more challenging necessarily a bad thing? It’s great to be active, it’s required by law in Massachusetts Public Schools, and the health benefits are immeasurable – the way in which exercise is executed, however, is what marks the difference between motivation and procrastination.

Complaints of  monotony in the singular class have been heard, and this year in particular, the upperclassmen have been given a wider range of activities to participate in, such as Ultimate Frisbee, tennis, and tennis baseball thus far. Still, many have claimed that “more fun” classes, such as capture the flag or dance, are still a high demand.

The idea of a more diverse gym class is much more widespread than just Hanover. According to their school website, Duxbury High in Massachusetts has multiple gym electives, ranging from Project Adventure, a course that allows students to participate in “cooperative game presentation[s] to the class, knots, belay techniques, and beginning level climbing…” and is “…designed to reinforce the importance of cooperation, communication, building self-esteem, self-confidence and decision making skills…” to a ‘Health and Nutrition’ course, specializing in “…addressing personal health and life issues. These issues…include AIDS/HIV, interpersonal relationships, human sexuality, refusal skills, violence prevention, drugs and alcohol, smoking, and family living issues.” and ‘Lifetime Individual Physical Education’, which includes “individual type sports: Archery, Golf, Badminton, Tennis, Yoga, Aerobics, CPR Training, and Weight Training…students learn the importance of maintaining a healthy life-style by participating in sports that they can continue throughout their lifetime. Students learn the skills, theory, and strategies needed for each lifetime sport.”

While it would be great for Hanover High to invest in similar activities, either monetarily or with support, the idea of simply creative and innovative P.E. elective options is on the table. That’s not to say that we’re unappreciative – we’re really immensely thankful for the effort of our teachers!

For the time being, whether we agree with it or not, gym is still a graded class, and like any class, work must be made up when you are absent, and you must come prepared. Good grades are possible, but the effort must be put in to get them.

So the next time you’re about to wear flip-flops to school on a gym day, think again. Your grade could depend on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *