They gave us recorders, so we thought we were playing a real instrument.. Not to knock on them or anything, but still, come on ^__^
They gave you recorders because they are incredibly cheap to manufacture, and contain relatively few breaking parts.
It really makes no sense, though, considering it isn't exactly the most starter-friendly instrument out there. Sure, it is pretty easy to produce the basic tone, but it's relatively difficult to play in tune on remote keys, and rapid passages are really pretty difficult.
Or well, to be precise, it is easy to play. It's hard to play so that it actually sounds good.