Monday, January 12, 2009
Is it always unfair?
I sometimes forget how lucky we are in the United States. Cyprus had many differences than the US, some that were previously mentioned, but the physical education world was extremely difficult as well. There are two main issues in physical education in Cyprus that required a lot of attentiveness by the teacher.
One of the issues is the lack of equipment. All physical education students learn that equipment possibilities are really dependent on whether the school has enough funding. The Grammar School is a private school, so funding comes directly from student tuition. This limits the amount of funding available for physical education and it shows in their lack of equipment. When you walk over to the Junior School gymnasium and open the equipment shed, you will find many hula-hoops, quite a few gatorskin balls, soccer balls and some cones. This is a lot considering the Grammar School shed, which has some gatorskin balls, kickballs, soccer balls, footballs and poly spots. This is what you have to work with and can go to JUMBO to buy any other things you need. Fortunately we were able to bring a large parachute with us for the Junior School to keep and include in their equipment. Each semester that a group of students visit Cyprus, the students try to bring a piece of equipment that the school can add. All the students loved the parachute and I feel it will be a great asset as long as the paved court doesn’t rip it.
The other major issue is the inequality in the society. Many Cypriot men believe that women should do their job at home and fall back into the 1950s beliefs of women in the US. In the Grammar School, the boys and girls are split into different classes by boys and girls depending on the classroom class they are in. Girls get to learn alternative sports that the boys do not learn. When I was there, the only sports I saw boys playing were football (soccer) and basketball. The girls would play volleyball, dance, and another student even taught Frisbee.
The biggest occurrence of inequality came when the student teaching Frisbee was kicked off the court so the boys could play soccer on the entire p.e. court. This required her to teach in the parking lot of the school because there was nowhere else to go. I was on the small court teaching Takraw at the time and another female teacher was teaching volleyball, while the Junior School was having class so their courts were used up. The male teachers had no problem with kicking her off and she was lucky enough to make-do with the parking lot. I hope that in the US all physical educators are learning the importance of equality and allowing all students the opportunities to participate.