Doc, Why Does Everyone Hate You

I’m a gym teacher
Likely characterized as a progressive traditionalist
Or worse depending on who
You are talking to
Often I reflect on my teaching
In the context
Of what I went through as a student
I’m trying to understand what I do
Based on my likes and dislikes
As a student all those decades ago

I liked real teachers
Who weren’t afraid to have an opinion
Who saw the world with realistic eyes
Who kept up with present day knowledge
Who could joke without being hurtful
Who gave the feedback that was hardest to hear
Unfortunately, I didn’t have many teachers like that

The ones who weren’t, though,
Were still good people
Deserving of respect and
Afforded decent human treatment
Even though, I was not enamored by their styles

So I try…

Try to talk with students light heartedly
While giving them things to think about
That might be different from the “party lines”
Teaching them that resilience and attention to detail
Will be greater factors in their success
Than book smarts, AP classes, or athletic prowess
Try to talk with them sternly,
With examples from real life,
When their adolescent arrogance
Needs a dose of an older person’s wisdom

I try…

Never am I concerned with like or
For the students don’t deserve to be judged that way
I lean towards patience
Which can sometimes be fleeting, but it
Can be extended by a thoughtful talk
About whatever the moment has wrought
Then the moment is over and
Everyone moves on
No like or dislike
Just move on

Maybe I came upon this philosophy
Later in life.
Maybe I am expecting too much
From those so young in life…
I guess
That’s just the way it is

I shouldn’t care, but I do

So I’ll keep being who I am
Seeing gym classes for their potential
To have the students learn about stuff
Not really in a book
To have students testing their physical capabilities
Which is more a mental exercise than anything

And if my young students
Want to hate me for that
So be it

Because in the same vein as:

Freed (12th grade: American Government)
Oweis (7th grade: Pre-Algebra)
Fuchs (12th grade: English)
Helion (Graduate School)
Owens (10th grade: Typing)
Alexander (9th grade: Geometry)
Poland (10th-12th grade: English and Drama
Yates (7th grade: American History)
Frazer (Doctoral Advisor), and
Miller (12th grade: Chemistry)

I’m going to be me
Hoping my students might be influenced
The way my teachers
Got inside my head


The funny thing about the teachers listed is that I remember very little of the content they taught me. What I remember is the life lessons each gave to me. Each was tough. Each was blunt. Each had supporters and detractors.

All were great for me.

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