It’s December in NYC, and Edison students are still going outside for physical education. Edison offers many types of classes for physical education, and the majority of them include going outside into the field for class. This has been controversial, with students expressing their mixed emotions for the outdoor classes they have to attend.
“It depends on the season. If it’s in September I like going outside for gym because it’s kinda warm and nice, but after November and into December, the rest of the year I don’t like it because it’s really cold,” Sharfa Hassan said.
The main thing students complain about regarding outdoor physical education is the weather. Students don’t enjoy the fact that they have to bundle up with jackets and sweaters to go outside, and then exercise with all of that on. This leaves students wishing they had other options instead of going outdoors for gym.
“I have fitness class which is supposed to be in the weight room, but we spent a month outside in the field.” When asked to elaborate on why they went outside, she explained that “The gym classes rotate, and we spent a four week rotation outside,” Hassan said.
The gym teachers explained that there are a multitude of reasons as to why they take students outside for physical education. The main complaint by the teachers is that there is not enough space in the building for all the gym classes to stay inside. The complaints led to recent changes in gym classes.
“This year is different, we are rotating facilities like the cage that has weights, and the dance room,” physical education teacher Kenneth Mueller said.
What this means is that certain gym classes will be hybrid so they spend a set amount of time in one room, and a set amount of time outside. The teachers switch locations so that every student can experience every type of physical education Edison offers.
“When it’s cold, my asthma flares so I wish that in the 10th and 11th grade they had the option for exclusively indoor sports. I don’t really like outdoor sports,” Hassan said.
Teachers are well aware of their students’ discontent with outdoor gyms, especially in the winter. Assistant Principal of Physical Education Mark D’elia expressed his concern for expanding the physical education program so that more students don’t have to go outside at all.
“We had Cybex, but eventually we got rid of those, and we tried to make it more of a crossfit, but the problem with that is we were tight and we were cramped, and we can’t do crossfit in the corner area,” D’Elia said.
That was just one of D’Elia’s proposals for modifying the current cage that we have so it can be better used by students. He also expressed his interest in bringing back some retired programs like a true dance class, and a true aerobics class that Edison once had. He’s already created two facilities for physical education outside the gym, but he stresses that it’s still not enough for everyone and that he wants more.
The idea that Edison’s physical education system needs improvement feels mutual among both the staff and students, but the biggest problem is funding. We don’t have the funds to make more space and expansions for the program. Regardless, nobody truly wants to be outside in the winter, so think what you can do to create a new facility or get more funding.