Physical education, or the shorthand ‘P.E’ as it is called in schools, is a double period class once a week that is compulsory for all students. If one can even call it a class . For many students, it is an hour of torture that they are unable to get out of. It’s unfair to put students through the embarrassment of Physical Education. In general in school society, there are the ‘Sporty’ students, who are fit, competitive and enjoy sport, and
then on the other side of things there are the ‘Non-Sporty’ ones, who detest any form of sport. Now, is it right to have somebody who takes sport seriously playing against somebody who just doesn’t have a natural sporting talent? No, it most certainly is not. And when these unfortunate students who just aren’t
athletic in the slightest constantly lose and are forced to engage in something they simply don’t have a talent for, it can seriously undermine their self-confidence and leave them feeling worthless and utterly mortified in front of all their peers. Studies by psychologist Edward Portman on Physical Education in schools in 1995 found that ’Low-skilled students did not enjoy physical education class because they felt unsuccessful most of the time… and indicated that the public nature of competitive events in physical education elicited both physical and verbal harassment from peers.’ P.E is down-right embarrassing and
although it is supposed to build character in the students who partake, often it only succeeds in tearing it down.
Another reason that I am totally against the mandatory Physical Education courses for students is because
it is a complete waste of time that could be spent in class. There are only 6 hours in an average school day with 9 classes of 35-40 minutes each. Although one double class a week for Physical Education doesn’t seem like much, over the course of a year in school, there are over 40 hours spent taking P.E. This is a scandalous waste of a student’s time. At the end of the day, P.E is not going to help any student to get into their desired college courses, nor is it going to improve the grades of any student in the rest of their classes. P.E isn’t an exam subject in Ireland, and until it becomes one, forcing them to take part in a subject that isn’t going to be graded in any way is an utter waste of time. These double classes every week could be used in a far more constructive manner than making students take part in a pointless hour and ten minutes of exercise. If we allow Irish students to spend more time focusing on their studies we will have a better educated and more productive generation of people.
My final reason for being against mandatory Physical Education course is because some students are very
conscious about their appearance and figure, both of which are emphasised during P.E. Students are required to change in front of each other before P.E class begins. This experience can be extremely daunting for certain people who are insecure about their physical appearance, whether it’s their weight, a
disfigurement or even their chest size. Subconsciously when getting changed, an individual can’t help but compare his or herself to the people around them. This isn’t at all healthy, but it’s what happens, especially in teenagers. Take a student who is slightly more overweight than her friends. She can’t help but feel self-conscious about her own body and may feel that all of her skinny, beautiful friends are judging her. This may not at all be the case, but it is custom for a teenager in our society to feel inferior to those who ‘look better’ than she does. These are normal thoughts for a teenager to have, but I don’t think that these thoughts should have to be a burden that comes with a student’s education. School should be a place to learn and enjoy yourself, not a place to feel more self-conscious and insecure about your body than you already do.
In conclusion, I believe that students should not be required to take physical education courses. Physical education is extremely embarrassing for those students who aren’t athletic, is a waste of valuable learning time and is an added factor to the insecurity and self-consciousness amongst students. Perhaps making it optional could be considered, but I don’t believe that it is necessary for everyone to
partake in this subject that simply isn’t desired by all students.