Physical Activity in the Classroom: Reflection

As I was in high school, I never had to worry about the amount of time I spent getting my daily exercise. I was a three sport athlete for as long as I could remember, and I had gym every day growing up. To me, physical exercise was just part of my day.

When I saw some of the stats from children today, and how they exercise, it really shocked me. Only 29% of students go to gym class daily? That’s crazy! And only 27% exercise 60 minutes a day? And then I started thinking about myself. When was the last time I really worked out? It’s honestly been almost a month ago.

Understanding it’s hard for students to get a full 60 minutes of exercise daily if they aren’t an athlete was something I had trouble with. Because I went to such a small school, it’s hard for me to get a grasp on the fact that not everybody is an athlete. Having said that, I believe it’s much harder than it seems to get students active during the day. One of the ideas that I read about was having students take physical breaks in the classroom. Shot ones, between five and twenty minutes. I think that this would work in younger classrooms, but how do you expect to take twenty minutes out of a hour-long class period for your students to regroup? It’d make teaching that much harder, especially if every teacher did this.

Another idea that was brought up was to make an after school program that allows for students to participate in activities that promote healthy lifestyles. Where I come from, we had something like this that was run by the local recreation department, which I worked for. Every day, we would take students up to the community indoor pool. This was one of the easiest, most efficient ways of getting students the physical activities they need, because they didn’t even think they were getting exercise. With this program, however, came a grant from a local donor which allowed the recreation staff to be paid. It would be hard to convince teachers and faculty of a school to go over the top to get children something like this, especially on a salary-paid basis. Also, finding somewhere to take the kids that can be used year-round would be very difficult. We were lucky we had the local pool at our disposal.

 

I will agree 100% that students need to get the physical exercise that their bodies are craving, but it’s a lot harder than it looks. Having a CPAP means that there needs to be involvement all around, from teachers to parents. Inclusion, safety of students, and some sort of payment plan would be just a few of the bigger speed bumps a program like this would hit. It’s awful that these are issues in today’s schools, but there’s no way around it.

Who Am I?

My name is Justin Siewierski, and I grew up in northern New Hampshire. Plymouth is not northern New Hampshire, by the way. Colebrook, my hometown, is home to 2,300 people, and most of them have ties in Canada. I was an athlete in Colebrook, but think that was just the term used to describe anyone that tried to play one of the three varsity sports the high school had to offer. I graduated with 26 other students, five of whom are still enrolled in a four university. Where I came from has a lot to say about who I am.

Someday, I’d like to be a writer. Maybe for a newspaper, to start. I love children, and someday I’d also like to teach. But I want some real-life experience, first. I want to teach students what I’ve learned in the real world, not what my textbook tells me to teach them. I want to show them why they should be in school, and how to engage in things like Shakespeare and Poe. Someday I’d like to have a group of students respect me based on my merit, and what I’ve achieved in my life. I want to show them that they can do whatever they want to do.

If I were to classify myself in terms of development, I’d say I’m an emerging adult. I don’t really know where I fit yet, and where I see myself in two years gives me that type of anxiety that you fix with a paper bag. I consider myself an adult on the sole basis that I’m no longer a teen, but I haven’t figured out how to actually adult. Maybe next year.

I’m 5’8″, and I used to have an athletic body type. Staying healthy is a huge problem for me, because of how engaged I am at Plymouth State. It’s a lousy excuse, but I use it quite often. I run The Clock, Plymouth’s student-run newspaper, and I’m part of the broadcast team for Plymouth Athletics. Between those two, I usually find an hour or two a day where I have some free time.

I always eat, on my free time.

I do my best to run a couple days a week, however, and that helps manage my stress as well as make me feel like I’m not so tubby after all. It bothers my knees to run due to what’s called a bipartite patella, which I was born with, but I do the best I can to make sure I stay fit.

Emotionally, I really would say that I’m pretty stable, but there’s definitely room for improvement. I don’t allow myself to get too aggravated over things, but in turn I end up blowing my top on one or two unlucky fellas. I express myself to everybody, however, and they usually can tell what kind of mood I’m in based on my expressions.

I have a hard time being relaxed, and almost everything in my life stresses me out. Deadlines stress me out, buying food stresses me out, reading about something stressful stresses me out. With that said, it stresses me out if there’s any sort of safety issue, if there is someone smoking around me, or if I see someone littering. As anxious about life as I can be, it does have its up sides.

If I were to change anything, it would be to find more time to relax and be myself. If I’m not at school, I’m home working as much as I can. Although money is a necessity, I want to find time to improve my health. I want to relax and enjoy my life more. My family has a long line of high blood pressure, and I want to try to fight that in myself as much as I can. I also want to start eating healthier. Hopefully, that will come with the free time I have, because I really don’t know what to cook that’s healthier than what I already consume. I’m sure anything is a step in the right direction once I stop eating at the Hannaford’s wing bar twice a week, though.