Judgement Part 2 Bias from Mr. Pink

Dear Mr. Pink (@Positivteacha),

First let me commend you on your awesome name. I know it was given to you by birthright but sharing a name with Steve Buscemi in Reservoir Dogs is so cool!!!

Now down to business. I read your blog and felt the gamut of emotions. I have also read your response blog located here. I will have to attempt to dissect your defense of your original blog in a second post.

You started off with a bang!!  We need more crossover dialogue in education. It proceeded to go downhill fast. “When we were growing up, as you were feeling the triumph of scoring the winning penalty for the school team, I was enviously penning poems about what that might feel like.”  You assume that all physical education teachers excelled in sports. Sweeping generalization one. Just talk about how you had a lack of skills in a class that wasn’t set up for you to succeed. The problem is you weren’t set up for success. 

“Today, I want to breach the gap between us and bring us together in the aim of achieving one goal. Today, I am not concerned with our futures, but the futures of the students we teach and I’m concerned with the power and the responsibility that you –PE teachers- have now, to ensure that these students have the physical and intellectual means to access the marvellous futures they deserve.” This would be a grand statement if your entire writing was not designed to enflame physed teachers. Maybe you desired this. It did get the PE community talking about you. Dialogue has ensued as a result. Maybe you are taking cues from Donald Trump. (American political reference if unaware)

“Who has the most power to influence this change: Mrs Smith from Geography who ‘only buys Waitrose’? Mr Jones from History who road bikes around France in half term? Mr Pink from English who eats pastrami and rocket sandwiches? The answer, of course, is none of these. The answer is you.” You renounced all power and authority to physical education teachers while simultaneously disregarding every relationship that non-PE teachers have with their students. I am happy we are getting credit but you may be doing a disservice to every other teacher in the school.

“As a casual, and slightly envious, observer of the influence you possess, I want you to know I’m fed up. I’m fed up of fifteen year old captains of sports teams proudly telling me, someone they should want to impress, that they’ve, ‘never finished a book’.” Another sweeping generalization here. How does playing a sport or being a captain have anything to do with reading? It seems to me that they don’t value reading. That is the problem here. I would worry about that more than what they do value. It’s not an either-or proposition. The bigger problem here is that you combine sport and physical education together. In the United States, physical education is much more than sports. I have many physical education connections in England and they teach much more than sport. Your blog should have been targeted to coaches not physical education teachers if your problem is with captains and sports teams.

“I’m fed up of hearing students – and teachers-, perpetuating the false dichotomy that people are either ‘clever’ or ‘sporty.’ If smart people can become more active, active people can become smart.” Agreed. Smart people can be sporty and vice versa. Again not an either or proposition.  

Here is where it gets real repugnant. “Please, stop picking naughty boys for your school teams.” This may be a cultural misunderstanding by my, but I fail to see how not reading makes a boy naughty. Boys who are bullies, kick puppies, or don’t follow their parent’s instructions would fall into this category. If your students are not reading it is more an indicator that they don’t value it than labeling them as naughty.

Here is an epic fail of mammoth proportions. “If they refuse to exercise their brains, then they shouldn’t be exercising their legs.” Under this logic, students aren’t learning anything when they exercise or play sports. This is an asinine statement. Here is the first article of 160 MILLION hits that came up when I googled learning by playing sports. They may not be learning what you deem as acceptable but then again your entire blog was written with bias and contempt.

Our job as physical education teachers is not to provide discipline and classroom management for your class. You state, “If they’re proving themselves in Science or History or ICT, give them the opportunity to prove themselves on the field.” How about we switch that and say if they are not proving themselves in physical education don’t give them the opportunity to participate in English? It doesn’t work that way sir.

This paragraph is filled with innuendo and reeks of disdain. “Get your tracksuited torsos into assemblies and tell students what you’re reading. Tell them about your favourite books and how reading has benefitted you personally. If you don’t read yourself, start and start now. It’s never too late. There’s lots of books out there, and they’re not all sports biographies. Try genres you’ve never tried before and get students to do the same.” My offense at this nonsense is that you are telling me what to do and “enlightening” people that there are numerous books in the world. Did you really think that we didn’t know how many books exist in the world? I offer you this. You support my class and I will support yours. I read constantly as well as exercise. I would love to talk about what I am reading. Do you exercise? What are you doing to show students how important physical activity and physical education is? I hope you will respond that you do this in numerous ways.

I don’t know what your definition of an athlete is. If it is making students physically literate than you are wrong when you declared this, “The students who love your subject won’t all become athletes.” If you believe that our goal is to create and train athletes you are incorrect. Our goal is to instill in our students that a lifetime of movement and physical activity is the only way to remain healthy.

If I had to pinpoint one problem with your post it’s that the tone of the post is in direct opposition to the goal of uniting teachers in the best interest of students. I left wondering why students don’t want to read after attending your class. That is not an attack on you but a simple musing of why they don’t see the value in something as important as reading. In your defense, I reflect on why some of my students don’t leave my class with the admiration of lifetime movement and activity that I would like to see in them. Maybe reflecting more on your practices may help instead of imploring physical education teachers to inspire your students for you. 

I conclude with this thought. Work with us and let’s build our students up together. Take an honest look at your blog and see where your bias lays and how it affects your writing and outlook. Let’s turn that frown upside down and join forces instead of writing divisive and inflammatory blogs.

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