If Students Treated Exercise Like Education: A Parable

Student: Hey, uh, like, sorry I was gone for the last few sessions of workouts.  Can I get all my make up work and stuff?

Personal Trainer: Make up work?  What do you mean?  We do exercises here.  I give you intense, important training for reaching your goals.  You can’t just “make that up.”  Either you’re here to do the work or you’re not.  If you’re not, then you’re not going to get the health that you want.  Do you think that there’s some kind of easy alternative I can give you and it will be just as good as if you’d been here and done your exercises right when you should have?  If that were true, what would be the point of anybody ever going to the gym?  We could all just do the “make up work.”

S: Um, whatever.  Can’t I just get a worksheet or clean your room for some points or something?

PT: What?  How would that make you healthy?  That’s hardly a substitute for all the demonstrations and guided practice you missed.

S: Ah, man, I dunno what you’re talkin about, but you’re supposed to give me some make up work.  It wasn’t my fault I was gone.  I got sick and had a family emergency.  Don’t you believe me?

PT: It doesn’t matter why you were gone.  If you’re not here to do the work, you can’t get the benefits.  I don’t just hand out health here; you have to earn it.  Even when you are here, you’re not working out very hard; mostly you just complain about how heavy the weights are and tell me that workouts should be easier and “funner.”   And when you’re not at the gym, you’re just sitting around eating junk food—you’re undoing any progress we’ve made here.  If you aren’t here, every day, doing all the exercises as well as you can, you won’t get in shape. 

S: What?  You’re not going to get me in shape?  Dude, why are you failing me?  I’m here!  I’m working!  I shouldn’t be punished for the workouts I missed!  Just let me be in shape!

PT: Punish you for missing workouts?  Let you be in shape?  Do you seriously not understand how nature works?  I can’t just automatically give you the knowledge, skills, and benefits that everybody is supposed to work hard a long time for.  Right now you’re overweight, weak, and sickly.  I can’t just wave a wand and change that. 

S: Hey, that’s not nice!  You can’t say that!

PT: Kid, it’s not an insult, it’s just the truth.  I’m sorry if everybody else is dodging that just to make you feel good, but in the end, that’ll just lead to you getting some nasty surprises in life, like when you try to climb a flight of stairs and find out the hard way that you won’t be able to.  It’s just reality and I’m trying to help you.  You’ll never get in better shape unless you realize that you’re out of shape now.  If you really want to be healthy, you’ll have to work hard.  In fact, you’ll have to work harder and longer than your peers at the gym because you’re so far behind. 

S:  What?  That’s not fair!  Why do you hate me?  Look, just give me my make up work!

PT: Alright.  If you want to catch up, you’ll have to start doing all the normal workouts—every day—and stay later so you can spend extra time doing all the exercises you’ve missed out on.  Then, maybe, you’ll be able to get healthy by the time the year is over. 

S: Ah, man, I don’t care that much.  I’ll just do an online workout or summer gym. 


Other education-related satire:

Presenting the Modern Gym!

The Great Grade Bailout

4 comments on “If Students Treated Exercise Like Education: A Parable

  1. You know, if you could get a goof-off to read this, it might have an effect. Then, again, reading this, for her/him, isn’t as fun as goofing off.

  2. Ha-ha. I got up early (as usual) this morning to work out. I’ve got to keep that middle-age spread under control. Tonight, my middle school aged daughter and I will study root words to buff up her vocabulary. Then, I’ll study a couple of chapters in the Book of Mormon.

  3. Velska and Floyd, thanks. Alas, by the time any student is old enough to reach my classes, their mindsets are fairly rigid: the entitlement is pretty deeply set in. Apparently, you can’t teach a young dog new tricks. Well, you can, but boy do you have to drag them kicking and screaming into it…

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