July 27 – to PE or not to PE

3/365 – people to thank who’ve had an impact on me. This one is inspired by a lot of my former students who tell me that I’ve had an impact on them. I had two teachers that made me feel good about myself and the first one was Ms (Donna) P. As a background, I was 250 pounds in high school – all of it fat. I was bullied and beaten up and called names around my weight, so-called effeminate behaviour and ethnicity all throughout junior high and senior high. In grade 10, I had to go to that dreaded class full of jocks and male PE teachers that loved nothing more to do than jump in with the rest of the bullying – I mean, they still did school yard picks for teams and each and every single time, I was last. However, this year, I ended up with Ms P – I was in awe. First, she was physically stunning – the most beautiful teacher I had ever had in my entire life. Second, she was my PE teacher!!?? A woman? Go figure. But what she did that year made me feel so good about myself. She put the boys in their place when any comments were made towards me. Not once did she rank us or allow the boys to pick teams. She valued learning and knowledge and skill acquisition more than physical strength and dominance. She made me feel human and worthy and that was the first time that I went to every PE class, did not ask my mother/forge a note for illness or forget my PE strip. This teacher made me feel I mattered and I received my very first and only A in PE during my entire schooling that year. Thank you Ms P.

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