When I posted about the lack of recess at my school over the weekend, I didn’t fully comprehend how big of a deal it really is. That’s because the culture of my school has completely normalized not having recess. It’s just not done!
I chatted very briefly with another teacher about recess last week and that teacher told me that all the kids used to have recess many years ago. At some point it was cut out of the day. At the time I bet the teachers were upset about it, but those teachers have long since retired or moved on. Over the past five years alone there have been [redacted: double digit] new teachers at my school (some brand-new and others with prior teaching experience). So when you start working at a school where there is no recess, you don’t make waves since you are untenured.
Let’s review what my students have on their plate (pun intended):
1) The school lunch that you have seen me eat for two months
2) The only opportunity to run around: a once-a-week gym class
3) No recess
The lack of recess is not just a concern where I work, but all over the country. And we’re surprised that kids are getting fat, having trouble focusing, and not achieving at the levels seen in other countries? Certainly we can’t control what happens at home. I’m just trying to make schools reflect about their role in the increase in childhood obesity. Are schools contributing to the problem?