You know the expression, “Never say never,” well, yeah, learn from me and don’t say it, because trust and believe me when I say, I said emphatically that I would never teach PE to kindergarten kids again. Well, so much for that.
For the past month, I’ve been teaching elementary PE to kids at a South side Chicago Public School. I returned in a special position and I was happy to do so because I truly am passionate about health and fitness and I thought this would give me the chance to return renewed and emboldened to impart peace strategies to today’s youth so as to decrease the violence in my beloved city. Well, again, so much for that.
While I thought the older kids would give me the most trouble, it’s actually the little adorable looking ones that have brought me the most grief! I am amazed by the things they do. Mind you, this list is not indicative of all the kids I teach, thank God. Now, let me tell you three things I’m sure you wouldn’t believe:
1. Kindergarten kids are violent! I mean seriously. They swing and kick and punch and shove and push and stomp and slap each other like they are in the WWF. It’s incredulous! Today I pulled out buckets and cones and jump ropes to create some fun games, but instead I spent most of the class time chasing and separating kids who were seriously trying to hurt one another. It just amazed and saddened me that these cute little adorable kids could be so mean and vicious at such a young age.
2. These kindergarten kids curse like sailors. I mean for real. They can’t even fully enunciate words but they can get expletives out plain as day. I stare at them shocked and bewildered because all I can think is, “Who are they getting this stuff from?” I think we know the answer to that.
3. In spite of the two aforementioned qualities, some of them are just as loving and smart and sweet and kind and make me know that there is still hope for a brighter future. I cling to them, and patiently give love to the others, even when they have me at my wit’s end. Today, one little boy who’d been sitting off to the side to regroup himself after listening to absolutely nothing I’d said, gave me his word that he’d return to the group and behave. Well, about five minutes after that he was trouncing on top of another boy because his cousin is also in the class and he felt justified in assaulting the little boy who was innocently trying to tie his cousin’s shoe. After I asked him about it, he told me, “My Momma told me if somebody mess with my cousin, beat him up.” I said, “But he was only trying to tie his shoe.” Full of remorse, he looked at me and said, “I messed up,” and all I could think was, yeah, this is real messed up. Mr. Rogers might be hard pressed to find a word of encouragement for the kindergarten kids I teach.
No, I will not allow myself to think such thoughts. I know that love conquers all, so instead I will say this: I know prayer has been taken out of the school system, but since this is my blog, please pray for me, our teachers, and today’s kindergarten–no, ALL school age kids. Trust me, we all need it.
About me: I’m a wife and mom of six daughters known as the “Fitness Evangelist” because of my ability to infuse the fun of exercise and perspiration with inspiration and health education. I’ve been teaching aerobics for almost twenty years and have worked for CPS and charter schools as a PE teacher and previously as a dean of students. I am serious about helping kids manage their emotions, make healthier food choices, and decreasing violence in Chicago. Because of soaring obesity rates and those who struggle with many controllable health-related issues, I also help people with their health and fitness goals any where in the world through my business with Total Life Changes. For more information about me, you can visit my website at http://elanainspires.com or go directly to my TLC website for more information http://totallifechanges.com/elanainspires.
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