I do understand that the main purpose of Gym class or "Physical Education" is to teach children to be physically active and fit. That's all well and good, but is it really something that is NEEDED in schools? I think not and let me tell you why.
I know that all schools are different and for me Gym class was mandatory from first grade up through tenth grade. Gym class is meant to help kids physically, but people don't realize what it does to kids mentally.
I have been overweight for most of my life and I was not popular. To be perfectly honest, I never liked the popular kids and had no problem not being involved in their clique. However, I was (un)lucky enough to have the majority of my junior high and high school gym classes with the popular crowd and not having any of my friends in there to group together with.
A lot of kids loved Gym class because it was like play time, but for me it was torture. I dreaded going to class every day and would often fake illnesses or P.M.S. to get out of it or "accidently" forget my gym clothes that day so that I didn't have to participate. Why did I loathe gym class so much? Simple. I was an outcast in gym class.
Do teachers not understand what it's like to be the kid that gets picked last to be on a team? To be the player that no one wants? How about when the teacher tells the children to pair up with someone else for a certain exercise and no one wants to pair up with me and I'm stuck with the stinky girl who doesn't take baths? Do they not realize what that does to ones psyche? Always coming in last place in races while everyone watches and laughs? Always being the one that gets struck out in dodge ball or softball? The kind of emotional stress I endured in gym class was horrendous and I remember how glad I was when it was finally over. I'm so thankful that our school didn't have a swimming pool because I couldn't imagine the nightmare of having to wear a bathing suit in front of the entire class! It was awful enough having to chance clothes in the locker room infront of the other girls!
Like I said, I understand the concept behind Physical Education classes but these classes can be very emotionally harmful to people that are less popular or not in physically fit shape. I think they Gym class should be made optional once kids reach a certain age, maybe middle school age? That is a detrimental time in a childs life and this kind of rejection has some harmful effects that can end up lasting them a lifetime!