17 May 2010

Teachers Oppose Recess

At least the teacher's union does:

COLUMBUS, Ohio – At the urging of school groups, the Ohio Senate has removed a provision from a childhood obesity bill that would require students to get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day while in school.

..."We can't solve every social problem at the school door" said Darold Johnson of the Ohio Federation of Teachers. "We need to do what we do well, and that's educate."

Jeff McCuen, treasurer of Worthington City Schools near Columbus, said the 30-minute exercise requirement would cost the district $4 million and take time away from core classes. ...

State Sen. Kevin Coughlin, a Republican from Cuyahoga Falls, agreed to take the exercise requirement out of his bill and instead allow districts to obtain a waiver. But he added that society rightfully asks a lot of public schools. "While I share the view that parents have responsibilities on all these things, I can also have the view that our schools should be doing the right stuff while our students are in there nine months a year, seven hours a day," he said....

I really don't understand why the kids cannot get an hour for lunch and recess combined. The teachers should take their lunch at that time, and the school day should be extended half an hour. We are not asking the teachers to teach longer hours, just be at the school longer and take a mandatory lunch break. A better lunch and recess would help my son enormously at school. And he is not abnormal. Kids need to run around.

14 comments:

Julie said...

Do you really think teachers oppose recess, or having their already-short time with kids cut? That headline is a bit misleading. Adding a half hour to a school day is easier said than done: it screws with the bus schedules, maintenance, adds utility costs, a whole bunch of things-- that's the $4mil the Worthington City Schools treasurer is talking about. If it's structured exercise, like gym class, that also means additional hires.

Teachers generally do not mind staying later (I don't know a single teacher who leaves the building the second they are officially "off duty," and when I taught I don't think I ever did). Considering that teachers are now doing more testing than educating, taking a half-hour out of that time really WOULD impact education.

I think kids should get recess. They need to work off the energy, and I'm sure teachers would like to have more than 30 minutes to wolf down their own lunch (though that 30 minutes would have to be negotiated into their contract, and many school systems already think teachers are overpaid and don't work enough). However, if that interferes with education-- like the OFT rep says-- it's a bigger issue than "teachers oppose recess".

CityKin said...

Yes my headline was intentionally confrontational, but it needs to be done, and it is a shame that the OFT opposes it.

catherine said...

I do not think having a longer lunch recess needs to cut into instructional time. What I do not understand is why the school day is so short. Our school day is 9:15 -3:45 That is 6.5 hours. Why isn't the student/teacher "workday" 8 hours like everybody else? That would allow more instructional time and more time for food and movement. It would also make so much more sense for working families to not have to arrange before and after care for their kids. Other industrialized countries have longer school days that include a civilized approach to eating and exercise. Why the hell are we so backward? I totally love and respect all the teachers we have encountered. I do not think an 8 hour workday should be considered onerous. Many occupations put in extra hours during the day but no other occupations include several months off per year. This needs to change. Not all issues can be solved by the school but they do not have to exacerbate existing problems and surely any educator can tell you that it is much more difficult to instruct an undernourished and fidgeting child than it is one who has had time to eat, digest and exercise. Can we think about the kids please!

Anonymous said...

Recess is a learning tool in itself for kids. It helps develop social interaction skills... in a Lord of the Flies sort of way if not properly supervised.

Archer01 said...

I agree with catherine about the longer school day. I never did understnad why the days are so short. I also agree with the benefits of recess. Both of my children function better in the classroom with a proper amount of down-time factored in. It just makes sense. They are kids. Heck even as an adult, I need some down time factored into my work day to really function well.

Quim said...

I am an ignorant non-parent. Don't kids still have phys ed?

CityKin said...

^once a week, yes. My son loves it and comes home raving about "crab soccer" and such.

5chw4r7z said...

I don't have kids either but, I'm with anonymous, were are kids going to gain social skills if not at recess? I remember making all my friends on the playground.

corrinesan said...

exercise every day does not equal "recess" - there's a lot of NOT exercise at recess.

it's hard for schools to prioritize exercise when so many of the kids are involved in afterschool sports & activities. Also, hard to lengthen a day that is already made 2 hours longer with lessons, practices, and activities.

part of the issue with the time is that the state measures the instruction by time in seats. unfortunately, time does not equal learning - and having down time would likely benefit a good portion of children (while providing other students with time for more personalized extra instruction)

i think at heart of it all is the debate about whether or not the school needs to be held accountable and responsible for the activity/weight of the students.

Julie said...

Catherine, though the in-school hours are officially only 7 (at your average high school, hours are 7:45-2:50, teachers present from 7:30-3:00) I assure you that teachers spend even more than 8 hours on their work. "Several months' vacation" includes preparation time, end-of-year grading, and professional development (that, unlike many in the private sector who have tuition reimbursement, is paid out of the teachers' own pocket). An 8-hour workday is not considered onerous, but it DOES come with additional costs. That can't be ignored.

Recess is great, but corrinesan is right: recess does not equal exercise. Schools are strapped for funds, levies aren't passing, they're cutting music and art and foreign languages, why would phys ed be any more of a priority? I'm sure those music, art and language teachers would like their jobs back. Where's the money-- and outrage-- about those classes?

CityKin said...

I'm not sure whether or not recess would be considered exercise in the Bill that the OFT opposed. The article is not clear. If it specifically required 30 minutes of gym class a day, then I can see the reason to oppose the bill as that would cost money in salaries and may result in cutting something else such as art or music.

My deal is lunch and recess. The schools have shrunk this so much that the kids are rushed, and it negatively affects their performance in the afternoon IMO. Most kids run A LOT during recess, but the beauty of some unstructured time is that the kids who do not need the running will do other things to chill out. Currently, my son's lunch is so short, he often skips eating so that he can run around a bit. I think this is hurting his school work quite a bit.

My understanding of the situation is that the day is so chock full of required studies that they have squeezed the recess almost out of existence, and the main reason they cannot just extend the day another 30 minutes is the teacher's contract and the OFT. This should change.

I don't question the dedication of the teachers or even the time they put in, but most people I know with white collar jobs are actually at the office hours roughly 7:30 - 5:30 with an hour lunch, and an occasional late nights and weekends.

What I would like to see is a mandatory lunch/recess hour with no reduction in classroom time.

Tregony said...

If you'd like to see an amazing transformation of recess- what we call playtime - so kids run around and are active check out Scrapstore playpods (on iPod and couldn't copy the link). We are also v worried about schools reducing lunchtimes as research shows children often rush or avoid their lunch in order to have some time to play.

VisuaLingual said...

I can see the value of recess as an adult, but it was always the worst part of every school day for me as a kid. I always had to hustle up an alternative for myself.

Dave said...

...someone told me Fox News is promoting the War on Recess....