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I wish my kids had real PE
Lyndsey Pearson and Cody Phelps instruct a 7th grade physical education class at Midvale Middle School before they play goal ball, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. Arianne Brown writes about how she wishes her kids' school had the funding for a PE program. - photo by Arianne Brown
Upon returning home from school, my son Ace, who is in the fourth grade, excitedly announced that the next day his class would be running the mile in PE.

I was under the assumption that there was no PE program at their school due to a lack of funding, which I was upset about, but I was doing what I could to make the best of a crummy situation by teaching them these important skills at home.

Excitedly, I asked Ace if his school had gotten a PE teacher, and he said that it hadn't, but his teacher was teaching it to them.

The idea that my son's teacher was also charged with the task of teaching PE intrigued and concerned me. So the next day, I headed over to the elementary schoolyard to watch Ace run and to see how this PE class was going.

As I watched the kids running around the field, things seemed OK, but I could tell right away that although the teacher was trying her best, she felt inadequate to be instructing the kids in PE. Right then, I began to feel sorry for both the kids and the teacher.

Physical education is dying in schools, as I've seen it in my own kids' school. As a parent, it is hard to sit and watch physical education go by the wayside.

The kids needed a teacher who was confident and passionate about teaching physical education, so that they could feel that desire and learn skills that they so desperately need.

I began to reminisce about my own elementary school PE teacher. His name was Mr. Teppert. He was tall and reminded me of a professional basketball player with his nearly 7 feet of height, tear-away basketball warmups and white high top sneakers.

I remember looking forward to the every-other-day trip down to the gym with my class. Once there, Mr. Teppert would have a wide range of activities for us to do. It was there where I learned to climb a rope, jump a rope, play dodge ball and basketball and bounce on an inflatable ball from one end of the gym to the other. We would run relays, do push-ups, sit-ups and squats all to his favorite 80s music.

Mr. Teppert was good at what he did because he knew PE, and he loved sharing his knowledge and passion for health and fitness with kids.

It is his example and his role as the school PE teacher that instilled in me a love of sports. It was his desire and ability to teach with a variety of mediums that taught me that there are many ways to be physically active.

I am a healthy adult who strives to teach my children the same, largely because of my elementary school PE teacher.

And while I do all that I can to instill that same love in my children, I wish that they were able to have the same physical education experience I did.

I wish they had PE. Real, structured PE.