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  There's No Denying: Bad is Bad

   Steve Jefferies, pelinks4u publisher

If you've been following the national news recently, one story that probably caught your eye was the hauling before Congress of a young pharmaceutical CEO named Martin Shkreli. With a smirky smile, Shkreli wisely invoked his 5th Amendment privilege against compulsory self-incrimination, by refusing to justify to legislators his plan to raise the cost of a drug AIDS victims depended upon from $13.50 to $750 a pill - a 5556% increase!

On June 29, 2009, a former chairman of the NASDAQ stock market was sentenced to 150 years in prison. Bernard "Bernie" Madoff, then a private financial investment advisor had pleaded guilty to operating a so-called "Ponzi" scheme amounting to one of the biggest financial frauds in history. Billions of dollars had been fraudulently siphoned off from clients who had entrusted Madoff with their financial futures and whose lives he'd ruined.

Despite the honest efforts that most people put into their work lives, we're all aware of people who choose to cheat, copy, lie, steal, and deceive. Their stories like those above sometimes make national news but often not. When we do things that are illegal we risk being punished. But if we don't break any laws there's a lot we can get away without reproach. That is unless someone calls us on it, holds us accountable and starts questioning the consequences of our actions. Not surprisingly, most people are reluctant to do this. Especially if it risks rocking the boat and making waves people around us find uncomfortable. And so it is with physical education.

Despite the valiant efforts of thousand of physical educators to do what's best for the kids they serve, few of us don't know or even work with teaching colleagues whose jobs are a fraud. They organize rather than teach, they aren't interested much in helping their students love being physically active and wanting to stay healthy, are not concerned about staying updated professionally, and are content to serve as a rich source of inspiration for the never-ending-stream of gym-teacher jokes. They, like Shkreli and Madoff are quite simply bad at what they do. It may not be illegal. But without doubt it is a fraud.

Of course, although I don't know them personally I'm guessing that Shkreli, Madoff, and most of our non-performing colleagues are in many ways nice people: The kind you could enjoying chatting with about family, food, sports and such. But in their work, what they do and far too frequently have done for too many years is undeniably bad. And while it may be too uncomfortable for us to confront these bad performers directly, there's something all of us can and should do. Bad is bad and we need to quit defending it.

When people complain publicly about their physical education experiences, about the endless boring running, the humbling games-playing experiences, the locker room dressing down humiliations, the yelling, the put-downs, the pain, the total absence of joy in moving, we must stop defending it. Just as in any walk of life, any job, there are those who are just plain bad at what they do. Painters, plumbers, electricians, lawyers, hairdressers, salespeople, builders, truck drivers, it doesn't matter. Everywhere there are people who are simply bad at what they do and embarrass their colleagues. So too are there bad physical education teachers. Let's confess to it.

Let's point out bad is all around us, not just in our school gyms. None of us are immune. Yes, it's true there are bad physical educators. Much better to be upfront and tell others we don't like it any more than those who've suffered at their hands. We are just as appalled, in fact even more so because they give our profession a bad name. But let's also be ready to point out the good. Where things are working well. Where teachers are not only dedicated to improving the lives of their students but where there's clear evidence of their impact.

The way to change how others see physical education is not to deny what is undeniably bad, but rather to show that we - like their workmates - aren't all the same. Most of us are committed to doing good. We're doing our best to making children's physical education experiences joyful and motivating. If others can see us in this way, instead of making fun of an entire profession they may start calling out those who truly deserve criticism. That's not only the way it should be, but also the way physical education will improve.

Steve Jefferies, pelinks4u publisher
SHAPE America President

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Featured pelinks4u Articles
Finding Our Superpowers
Lynn Hefele wants you to know that she is having a super teaching year! In fact she has dedicated the year for her 4th graders to "finding our super powers." Specifically, Lynn is exploring a novel way to personally connect with each of her students through helping them identify what they are good at. Learn more about a great way to motivate your students and get them excited about being physically active.
Making the Physical Education Environment Handicap Accessible
How much do you know about the legal expectations of ensuring students with disabilities have fair access to your facilities and programs. Philip Conatser and Juan Paredes give examples of how physical educators can meet the expectations of the Architecture Barrier Act 1968 (ABA) and American with Disabilities Act 1990.
Get HyPE: Using Wordle for Teacher Reflection
Students in Sarah G-H's school fill in surveys as part of the teacher evaluation process. Sarah's imaginative principal decided to use a "wordle" to help his teachers learn more about how students perceived their class experience. It was an eye-opening experience for Sarah and helped her to better understand how she was connecting with her students.
Rethinking Physical Education Programs with Common Core State Standards in Mind
With more and more states adopting Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and schools expected to better prepare their students for college and career readiness, Phoebe Constantinou suggests ways that physical education programs can contribute. Phoebe believes that with a greater willingness to re-think physical education programs through a multidisciplinary lens, the CCSS could be an attainable challenge.
Addressing the Activity Gap
Where should physical educators strive to have most impact? In the gym and on the fields? Or on the physical activity choices of their students outside of school? Charlie Rizzuto ponders these questions and explains how he uses the "activity gap" to shape his thinking. Learn more about the amount of physical activity students get in our classes and what he believes they need to make up outside of classes.
  • Make Your Case to Attend SHAPE America's National Convention & Expo
  • VOTE for candidates to serve on the SHAPE America Board of Directors and select the new President (April 7 deadline)
  • 50 MILLION STRONG BY 2029: FROM CONCEPTION TO IMPLEMENTATION workshop offered at Minneapolis Convention on Tuesday, April 5th 3:30 - 5:30.
  • New York Times Best-Selling Author Tom Rath to Keynote SHAPE America's National Convention & Expo in Minneapolis
  • Paralympic Legend Chris Waddell to Keynote SHAPE America's National Convention & Expo in Minneapolis
  • Check out the list of SHAPE America Podcasts for 2016 and listen to past podcasts
  • PETE Student offers Tips for All Future Professionals
  • SHAPE America offers "Mentor Match." Sign up to mentor or be mentored!
  • Every Student Succeeds Act: Game-changer for health and physical education
  • Free E-Guide: Getting Started With ESSA offered by SHAPE America
  • Is more physical education at school linked to higher student math scores?
  • Preserve physical education
  • Webinar: Stop Waivers (and online) From Re-defining Physical Education
  • Health and Physical Education Teachers Head to Capitol Hill to Advocate for Health and PE Programs Under Every Student Succeeds Act
  • Cross country bike ride to raise funds for physical education
  • Majority Of Americans Never Use Physical Education After High School (NOTE: It is supposed to be satirical!)
  • Afghan child gets a Lionel Messi jersey: How sports build bridges (+video)
  • (AZ) A Super PE Teacher goes to the Super Bowl
  • (AZ) Why Physical Education Online Could Be The Best Option for Your Child
  • (FL) Why Florida might legislate play time at elementary schools
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