Missed Opportunities

What is it with children these days not taking the opportunities they are offered for free. As you will know I have started a ‘boot camp’ at school for years 9, 10 and 11. The first session ran yesterday. We currently have only 13 pupils having accepted the challenge and taken us up on the opportunity. Only 1 of them is a boy. If something like this was offered when I was a kid I would have jumped at the chance. This camp offers two sessions a week of fitness, including circuits, different methods of training, a nutrition and cooking workshop and even a healthy breakfast club. This is aimed at changing their mindset and teaching them small things could make a big difference in their lifestyle. 

The question I ask myself is why? Why are pupils changing their attitude? What is more important to them than learning about how to lead a healthier lifestyle and getting fitter. Unfortunately, I feel there are a lot of answers to this question. These range from “I am already fit enough” to and I quote “I just can’t be bothered mam.” I want to try and change these attitudes. So many of the boys have been talking about Grand Theft Auto, I know its cliche to say this has impacted the youth but it has. They have too many video games, or smart phone games to play that they don’t want to take the opportunities that are handed to them. I hope they don’t look back on this when they have left school and regret not taking this opportunity. I sense I am not the only one having this problem, the motivation levels in PE are decreasing too. It’s been proven that pupils don’t like competition as much, yet lots of lessons end with competition. So what can we change to try and encourage them to be more motivated and to be bothered. 

As practitioners, I believe we need to work out what will motivate and drive the pupils to show the most progress. I also feel that if they are more motivated to exercise and take part in sport, it can teach them more social skills and have a knock on effect in their school life. I think more parents should encourage their children to exercise more often or to limit the use of their phone/computer console at an early age. Recently, a lad at school shattered his wrist and had to have it pinned. The first thing he said was “I won’t be able to play Fifa.” My first question would have been “Can I still play football?” And I am sure many other PE teachers would have posed a similar question. 

I still don’t know how to answer this problem, and I can’t provide a solution, but I am willing to work with my department and others of members of staff to try. Something needs to be done to get children to realise their potential and take the opportunities offered to them. If they aren’t willing to listen to us, then figures on obesity are going to rise. I want to help stop them. 

5 thoughts on “Missed Opportunities

  1. If I may, I’d like to pose a question. There’s a line in your post, which I agree with by the way, that I’d like to scrutinise – And I am sure many other PE teachers would have posed a similar question. How many teachers in other departments would have asked the same question? Would your IT teachers, or maths teachers ask the same (that’s nothing against those departments, just using an example)? As you know, some people just don’t like sport. In my most humble of opinions, it’s that word that puts people off ‘sport’ not the activity. As you mention, competition isn’t for everyone, for me it’s getting kids active, which you’re trying to do.

    • Good point, possibly not. I know in my school some of those teachers would have posed a similar question, or possibly something along the lines of how am I going to mark ha! Activity is key, not putting kids off, when kids see themselves progress, that’s when they increase their confidence and are happier, almost proud of themselves. Only problem is, lots of them hate running.

  2. I think the key problem is right here:
    “This is aimed at changing their mindset”

    Teachers and educators say this all the time, and I remember as a young person that I just hated it. Why does every fucker want to change me? Is there a single person on this bloody planet who is the least bit interested in me, as opposed to what they think they can make out of me?

    It’s part of the big central problem in motivating learners: the teacher can see the road ahead and where the learner will go; the learner, by definition, cannot see the road ahead. So any calls from the teacher to walk along the road fall on deaf ears.

    I’m now in my 30s, and I have experience of being fit, and experience of being not fit. I’d rather be fit, but my laziness is stopping me. I’d take a good class. At 15, I did not have this experience. I had no way of knowing what my fit life would be like, and no ability to compare it with my unfit life. The only metric I could use to judge whether exercise was worth doing or not was, is it fun?

    This post actually just makes me worry about the girls. Told their whole lives that they must be doing things with their bodies.

    • Hiya, thanks for your reply. What I want the most is to help pupils reach their potential and give them a better understanding of the options they have I.e. Encouraging them to eat healthy foods, or to tell them the benefits of different foods and different types of exercise, then they can make their own choices. The ones that want to understand more and learn more are the ones that come along and learn.

      I agree with your point, the learner can’t see the road ahead, so we as teachers need to try and work out how to help them see further into the future. I don’t want them to constantly worry about the way they look, or that they should be skinny. I want them to realise that they shouldn’t care what others think, they should make their own decisions but they should understand how important some of those decisions could be in later life. By me wanting to change their mindset, I want them to have a more positive outlook on their life and the things that they can do, to increase their confidence. Some girls have very low self esteem. It’s worrying, I think exercise and healthy foods can help with this.

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