Monday, September 26, 2011


Last Thursday was back to school night for parents. I was given a copy of Ethan's schedule and spent 10 minutes in each of his classes, starting with 1st period. Everything went smoothly. As usual, I had a couple of people ask me, "Are you Ethan's mom?" When I said yes, they replied, "He looks just like you."

When I got to his gym class, I was a little surprised. The 2 P.E. teachers were morbidly obese. I don't have an issue with teachers being morbidly obese, I have an issue with Physical Education teachers being morbidly obese. I feel that they're not setting a proper example for what they're trying to teach. They teach physical fitness, the importance of being active and healthy, and there's even a week where they talk about eating healthy. I feel that if you're teaching kids all of that, you should be a good example of what you're teaching. I'm not saying they aren't great teachers, as I'm sure they are. I'm just saying I feel the kids would take them and what they're teaching more seriously, if they fit the image of what they're teaching.

The other issue I had was something that the P.E. teacher said. They were showing us a slide show of what's covered in their class. One of the things was body composition. The teacher said that they do not go into detail with body composition anymore because they don't want kids to feel bad about their bodies. Now, I'm all for kids having a high self-esteem, but as far as I'm concerned, they NEED to be taught about healthy body composition. Is there not a way to teach this without making kids feel bad about themselves? To me, this is not the same as the media pressuring girls to be extremely thin or boys to be muscle-heads.

When trying to find more details about teaching body composition in schools, I found the FitnessGram website. Under the FAQ I found this:
Some teachers and parents express concern that assessments of body composition (or weight status) will make a child overly concerned about their body and lead to eating disorders. There is no research evidence suggesting that this likely to occur. On the other hand, lack of knowledge about body composition and the lack of appropriate perceptions of body image may be greater contributors to the development of eating disorders.

Body composition testing (particularly skinfold testing) offers an opportunity for teachers to deal with the cultural obsessions with thinness and body image that prevail in our society. The teacher can set a tone of acceptance for different body types and acknowledge the important genetic contribution to obesity. With greater tolerance for variation in fitness levels, children can better determine the relation of their body composition to health without fear of ridicule. Avoiding the use of body composition assessment does nothing to counter the perceived cultural pressure to be thin or the tendency of many children to become obese as adults.

Using FITNESSGRAM can help young children set realistic standards for their body fatness and avoid the overemphasis on leanness that is often displayed by our culture.

Seems to me like body composition would be the opposite of giving kids a low self-esteem.

But, I guess this is similar to what I wrote about here. It's more coddling children bullshit, not wanting their feelings hurt. I think it's wrong! I think it is wrong that there have been so many changes in public schools due to parents not wanting their kids to have hurt feelings. I think it's wrong that schools are complying with these complaining parents. I think it's wrong to not teach children that you have to work for things in life. You have to work to be healthy. You have to work to get good grades. You have to work to be good in school. You have to work to win games. You have to work to make money so you can afford have a roof over your head and food in your mouth.

I truly believe that kids need to learn these things because these things help them with real life. In real life your feelings DO get hurt. And they'll need to learn how to handle their hurt feelings in a healthy way. Just like they need to learn how to handle their body and body image in a healthy way.

Deep Throat of the Day: Having a morbidly obese P.E. teacher is like having a Nutritionist with an office full of Ho-Ho's and Twinkies telling you to eat fruits and veggies.


Jim McKee said...

I agree, way too much molly-coddling. If their feelings DO get hurt, maybe they'll get motivated to do something about it.

Good post.

Randi said...

Our future generations are going to be those goddamned Wall-E people that stare into a goddamned TV on their fat asses drinking their food. Sigh.

Joker_SATX said...

We are so taking our kids in the wrong direction. Part of the problem is lawyers. Say the wrong thing and everyone will sue your ass.

I agree with you on this. But then again, I am a "get your shit together quick" type of dad with my kids.

Hubman said...

Early in life I worked as a PE teacher for a while (that was my undergrad major) and then as a personal trainer while in grad school. Then, and now, I'm appalled by the poor example set by many people in both of those fields.

My issue isn't with the kids or the parents feelings (really, does a fat person not know that they're fat?), but with methodology. Many techniques used to estimate body composition are highly dependent on the skill of the technician. That's how we end up with nonsense like the claim that Shaquille O'Neil had 5% bodyfat when 12-15% was much more likely.

So are you going to blog more than ever once in a while again? I miss your posts!

Debbie said...

Ugh, I'm starting to see so many morbidly obese children and it scares me. I think that to teach something, you need to be close to an expert at the unless these PE teachers can do what they are telling the kids to do then they should be put on notice.