Fule for Thought
There has been a new movement in education to embrace and use technology. Once we did not allow cell phones in class. However, now they can be used for educational purposes. In fact, I have also begun to use technology in reffing PE games. At one time, I used to use the standard plastic whistle. After a few classes of biting on the plastic, your teeth can get pretty sore. I also blame these things for my already wide gap in my teeth growing into a chasm! In fact, when I’m teaching, if I hit the right combinations of the letter “s”… I emit a high whistle noise! Needless to say, my students find this hilarious, and in an earlier column, I mentioned that a few used to write creative stories with as many ”s” words as possible … waiting for the sharp whistle! I DO believe that we developed a stray dog problem at SHS BECAUSE of that high whistle!
Well, I too have now begun to use technology. My new best friend in refereeing PE games is a sleek, red, electronic whistle. It’s the size of a small flashlight and has three different tones. It also has a wrist band so it doesn’t fall. All you have to do, is push a black button and it makes an exact referee’s whistle sound! This has helped protect my teeth, and has surprisingly helped with students who don’t put out much effort in PE classes. Here is how the electronic whistle has helped me. I use the regular tone for refereeing, and a separate higher “trill” to signal my “pylons” to actually move (“pylon” is an endearing name PE teachers sometimes use for students who don’t wish to move in PE and love to stand and chat). Now, whenever I use the second tone, my “pylons” know that they should move a bit more … and talk less. It’s really like conditioning them WITHOUT using high voltage. However, at times I DO wish there was an added tazer feature!
About six years ago, I had a student I’ll call Samantha. Sam did not like to do much in PE class, but visit and chat to anyone near her. In fact, she’s the only student I’ve ever had, who took a cellphone call, playing Right Field in Softball! The hit screamed over her head, and we had to have our own “chat” about paying attention in class. I explained that “good ole Mr.Fule” would rather NOT get sued when the ball hit her RIGHT between the eyes!
I usually drive my van out to the Ag. Society ball diamonds, ever since an accident in another class happened, even BEFORE the game started. Back then, I arrived at the diamonds in time to see one of my PE 30 guys on the ground in obvious pain. He had decided on a dare to jump OFF the dugout roof, only to land on and break his ankle! Since then, I have always driven, even if I AM a short distance from the diamond!
Fast forward a couple of years to Sam’s class. Bear in mind, that Sam did not move much in our softball games. Driving by Sam and her pals to the diamonds, I slowed to a stop, and lowered the passenger window. I called them over to see a new “classmate.”
There, riding “shotgun” was a bright Orange pylon buckled in! I had taped the name “Sam” to it, as well as sunglasses, and she and her classmates laughed. However, I wasn’t done yet. Out at the diamonds after we randomly picked teams, I put the “Pylon Sam” at Home base to bat! It stood to the side of the base, and I lay a bat on the ground in front of it. I went to the pitchers’ mound and pitched TO the pylon. When the ball would hit the pylon, I had one of the guys run it to First Base! I even think the PYLON made it “safe” as much as the REAL Sam! When it was time for Sam to play Right Field, I put “Pylon Sam” next to her with a ball glove open and on the ground next to it! That way, if any hits came out there, TWO Sams had a chance to catch the “fly,” even IF only ONE of them was real! I recently ran into the REAL Sam, and we reminisced about those glory days of Softball in PE 30. After we briefly talked, I left wondering if she had kept in contact with her Pylon pal over the years! After all, they WERE once teammates!
(“Fule for Thought” is a slice of life humourous column that appears in the Strathmore Times, written by long-time resident, town councillor, high school teacher, coach, husband and father of two – Pat Fule. If you would like to get in touch with Pat, you can send him an e-mail at