June 03, 2011


When I was a PE student, back in the dinosaur age, the grading system must have been different than it is today.  You showed up, dressed for PE, participated (even participated poorly at times in my case), finished by pretending to shower with your towel wrapped around you at all times sticking your big toe in the water, rushing back out, and dressing as discretely as possible in a corner.  An easy A would be granted.  It's not that way any more.  At least it would seem that way for my son Little Boy.

This kid of mine is a straight A student.  I have never seen a kid (at least in my home) with such self motivation in school.  I think it has come from a lifetime of trying to keep up with his older brothers.  I have visions of him as a small boy chasing them down in the yard with his funny run.  We called it the 'chicken arm' run, and he was not the first in my family to have this left-side, bent arm-popping-out, phenomenon happen to him inexplicably with random timing while running.  And no, he no longer does the chicken arm run (which breaks his mother's heart), and which could possibly account for the struggle for an A in PE.  I just like to recall the run for old times sake.  The important part is the run to keep up with his brothers who usually left him in the dust back then.

He's just always had a drive to be like the big boys.  Which actually helped him with endurance and speed.  Today he can play lacrosse with Middle Boy and hang in there like a champ.  He can out run both of his brothers now because he just. doesn't. quit.  He's like the energizer bunny of the family.  He used to play amazing T-ball and coach pitch baseball.  He was the kid everyone would back up for when he would come to bat.  Then he decided he hated baseball when the kids started pitching instead of the coaches. More often the kids would be hitting the batter instead of properly pitching.  We endured that last season with him back in 4th grade and he never wanted to go back.  Even though his team made it to the finals (and won), he decided baseball was not for him.  We moved on to running which he enjoys and he doesn't have to doge baseballs.

So you can see why I would be confused by this PE teacher who is so tough on him.  Last semester it was the only B he got and it irked me that his perfect GPA should be marred by a B in PE.  Now I am not usually one of those parents who has to hover over a kid making sure that no imperfect grade comes home.  I am usually pleased with a B.  But not in PE!  I started thinking "what does this guy have against my kid?"  I let it go.  Time passed and we ended up in the same boat this past quarter (all A's and one B in PE).  This time we actually got a note from his teacher on the report card stating that Little Boy is too social in class.  So it's not related to his ability in PE but that he has been getting under the coaches skin by not giving him the attention he feels he deserves.  Maybe that is okay to knock down grades for talking, maybe the coach is being a jerk.  I don't really know, but it seems to be coming more into focus.  So I had a chat with Little Boy and told him to keep his mouth on pause during PE.  He assures me he has been doing this.  His grade has stayed the same, a high B.

Today I emailed the teacher... tell me what you think.

My son has a high B in your gym class.   He is a straight A student and seems to only get B's in gym.  He has tried to stop being social in gym since we saw your note.  Is there anything he can do to tip his grade up during the final exams?  

He is not usually athletically challenged.  He is my 3rd boy and usually keeps up with his brothers just fine.  I am a bit confused by his grades in gym.  

Kelly T

I have no idea if I will be ruffling feathers here but I figure, it's the end of the year, he will hopefully get another coach next year for PE, and even if he now grades more harshly during Little Boy's final we will still most likely have the B we started with.  I just wanted to let the coach know I have my eye on him and his unfair non-A giving tendency here.  I have no idea how these PE teacher's minds work.  But I can make a guess.... Here's my guess, he's thinking "those Math teachers think they are so great with their interactive promethean boards after school tutorials and their make up exams.  My subject is just as important for creating all around good citizens of this nation.  I'll show them a thing or two about PE.  This class will be so hard to get an A in.  I'll show them all!  I will finally get the respect I deserve around here, my new whistle I put in for hasn't even come yet.  This old rusty thing I've been using could give me tetanus!"

After I sent this email this morning I asked Little Boy to ask around in class and see who is getting A's in the class.  I asked him again if he had been giving the coach his attention like he should.  I wanted to make sure before going to bat for him like this.  Now I just have to wait to see if the ball will be aimed at me next and be ready to dodge.


M-Cat said...

A B in PE? ridiculous. At our school, as long as the kids showed up, participated (not even having to get "dressed") they got A's. If my kids missed a day or two, they could bring donuts to coach or make a sev run for him and the grade magically changed.

I hope your email goes over well. Being too social? In PE? I can see in an academic class, but in PE where they are supposed to be social and teamwork blah blah?

Can't wait to hear what comes from it

Kelly said...

Here's what came of it...(I should tell you that we live in a county that is full of itself when it comes to performance... sigh. It has it's benefits and it's drawbacks. I don't think a Slurpee would do it)

Hello Ms. Tagg,

Although Andrew is achieving most of the objectives for the unit, he still isn't focused on our directions for instruction nor on the warm-up activities. Currently he is the captain for his whiffle Ball group, but I still need to remind him to stay in the designated team numbered line so his team can sit in the correct location behind him. In addition, during warm-ups 2 out of the 5 days of the week he is more focused on socializing and not on warming-up for the activity. If these items are attended to, corrected, his performance will improve his grade. Also, the quiz he took on Whiffle Ball will be in placed on the grade system today, this should improve his grade as well.

Thank-you, for checking concerning his performance.

Mr. F