Physical education provides students with the opportunity to burn off some energy and release their frustration and tension by running or playing team sports. However, for many children physical education is a less than enjoyable experience, and is actually something they dread having to do. If they have sympathetic parents or are very good at forging their parents’ handwriting it is possible for them to avoid taking part in physical education lessons. The fact that so many students are choosing to avoid doing physical education seems to suggest that there are plenty of children who dislike it and will do anything to get out of doing it.
There appears to be a hierarchy in school where the children who are best at sports also happen to be the most popular. At the bottom are the children who may be perceived as being ‘geeks’ or ‘nerds’, and who are more interested in academic study than physical education. The overweight children, those who are extremely shy, and various other ‘outcasts’ can also find they are not regarded as highly by their peers, and tend to think that physical education is something worth avoiding.
It always appears to have been this way, as for some reason physical strength and endurance seems to be more highly rewarded than academic ability. This is fine for those who enjoy physical education and have an aptitude for sports, but not so good for those who find keeping up with their peers a real struggle. These individuals are likely to be picked last every time the group is divided into teams, which can be quite humiliating. Even more embarrassing, though, is falling behind everyone else when they are being made to run around the track, or dropping a ball when it is passed to them. They can end up just wishing the ground would swallow them up.
The attitude of physical education teachers doesn’t help, either, since they naturally favour the most capable, whilst completely ignoring the needs of others in the group. They aren’t interested in helping students who could actually do with some help, but are more concerned with getting the best to perform even better. Consequently, those who find physical education difficult don’t even see the point in trying and find that within their group of friends generally everyone detests physical education anyway. They can end up developing such a negative attitude towards exercise that they keep their activity levels to a minimum.
The fact that so many children dislike physical education is obviously a bad thing, since more and more children and adults are becoming obese due to inactive lifestyles, which therefore means physical education lessons really need to be for all students; not just those with natural ability, so that they learn to appreciate the benefits of exercise.