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Pe changing room supervision. In or out?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by sweetpea 2, May 29, 2018.

  1. FormosaRed

    FormosaRed Occasional commenter

    When Michael decides to be Michaela and exercise her right to change in the girls' changing rooms.... That's when it will become interesting.
  2. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Back in the twentieth century P.E. teachers (female- girls' school) were always in the changing room. They stood and watched us have showers to make sure that we didn't skimp. If we wanted to get out of showers we had to report that we had a period. This was recorded in a book and it was monitored how many periods a month we had. No getting out of showers. Communal changing rooms, communal showers - how I hated rubbing against 25 other wet naked bodies, we all had to stand under the showers together for a set amount of time. We also had to be publicly weighed every half term or so, standing in front of the class in our undies.
    Oh how I hated, loathed and detested P.E.
    Maybe the 21st century snowflakes would find it character building.
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Ye gods!
    I did the communal showers thing but a weigh in!!
    pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. Lazycat

    Lazycat Established commenter

    What on earth was the function of the public weigh in??

    I also had to do the communal shower thing with the teacher watching us to ensure we showered properly. Put me off sport for life. I’ve had to cover a PE lesson before and didn’t know what I was supposed to do regarding supervising changing. I just sat there with my back to them all - a very uncomfortable experience!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. Grandsire

    Grandsire Senior commenter

    Oh god, just reading this thread makes me remember the smell of the changing rooms and the awful 'corridor of showers' at my secondary school - after PE, you had to strip off, hang up your towel at one end, and walk through the showers stark naked, then emerge at the other end, only to dash back across the room to the entrance and grab your towel. Totally humiliating - who needs a public weigh-in when you're naked and on full view to everyone twice every week? There was no soap or shower gel, and I can't remember doing any actual washing - I just waited as long as I could for the showers to be less crowded, and raced through in total embarrassment. Publicly naked showering in front of my peers had little or no effect on my personal hygiene, but oh, how I remember the awfulness of it all these years later.

    As Saluki said, the only way out of it was to claim you had your period, information which was recorded week by week in a register by the teacher to check it was the truth, which simply added another layer of bullying for those of us who hadn't started their periods yet... Horrible, horrible, horrible! Is it any wonder a generation has grown up averse to physical exercise?

    So, now I'm evaluating the damage I may be doing to my own primary-age pupils, and like many teachers, I have no male adult to accompany me when my class go swimming. I send the accompanying TA in with the girls (I can't be doing with all the putting swimming hats on!) and stand in the doorway to the boys, round the corner and out of sight from where they get changed, and with my back to them. I explain that I have no wish to step in any further, insist they change in silence, and warn them repeatedly that ANY noise or silliness will result in me appearing round the corner, regardless of how half-dressed or un-dressed they might be. It's always worked for me, although some classes need more nagging reminders to be quiet than others, and sometimes I encourage a few well-behaved ones to act as monitors to tell the silly ones to behave. There are no cubicles - I suppose they use their towels to preserve their modesty.

    What's interesting is their attitude to changing for PE. In the year I teach, it's just always been assumed that they'll get changed for PE in the classroom, boys and girls mixed together (with only the older pupils tending to use the changing rooms), and they're fine with this as far as I can see - I try to keep my back to them and look busy doing something else, but on the whole they don't seem at all concerned... until the day a boy from the class next door (same age) came in to deliver something - and the girls all shrieked! Apparently, it's okay getting changed in front of the boys in their own class, but not from another class. Some of the girls duck down behind their chairs if they are changing their top, but most don't seem to care. A few of the boys, I have to say, seem to relish the opportunity to stand round in their superhero-patterned underwear...

    I'd like to use the changing rooms more but they are small, smelly, and too often filled with older kids' clothes as more than one year group does PE at a time. Tricky. I can't imagine that, given that we sometimes don't have any pencils, paper or glue sticks, there would be any money in the pot for new changing facilities!
    chelsea2 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    At my 'modern' primary school we had showers (communal) and our headmaster used to supervise us. Yes, really! Astonoishing, even for the seventies. When I reminisced about it on Friends Reunited way back, my memories were removed even though I mentioned no names and lots of other people had the same recollections. Far worse that that horrid man should be humniliated than that we should at least be able to reveal what went on.

    I loathed PE and especially the changing and the showers. It was an absolute nightmare for me as a shy child and probably contributed to my loathing of any kind of organised exercise. Why are we doing this to children? They should have a cubilce each so that a staff member could be in the changing room and hear any bullying that was happening, and showers? A complete waste of money. Everyone showers or baths every day now at home. They really don't need another cursory one after a bit of light exercise and even if they stink, well they probably would have done any way. I'm amazed that all the showers haven't been ripped out and replaced with changing cubicles. School PE still seems to be designed to put children off exercise for life.
    InkyP and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  7. The-Gaffer

    The-Gaffer Occasional commenter

    @sweetpea 2 you asked for some advice & you've got a lot of stories about 'what it was like back in the day' but I'm telling you as someone who's worked in schools where kids have regularly been sent to youth offenders this is what you need to do:

    Stay in the changing rooms collect the valuables & when a gobby kid pipes up that you are a "perv, paedo" etc you look them straight in the eye & tell them

    "I have to be in here it's my job"

    When they complain that they will tell their parents you tell their parents the same thing

    It's your JOB to man THAT CLASSROOM

    close this thread this is how you deal with the situation
  8. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    I rememeber hating changing rooms for sports..and communal showers....so often abuse and comments about the size of ones private bits...or the grossness size of your body. Bit like the outside toilets with no lockable doors and so no privacy from the push the door open types.
    In primary classes it was a problem...and even worse as a supply when they changed in the class room and you had to be careful you were not seen to be stareing.....and shouting at little 'jena' ,with your back to her ,to please get dressed as she was running orstanding half starkers in an infant classroom.Thankfully I had TA's who could assit in getting them to change!
    As a man when taking children to swimming onemade sure youdidnot enter the room or the boys for that matter....and knocked and shouted to them to get amove on..often worked but if i did have to go in the rooms i would shout loaudly i was coming in .
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  9. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    And if their advice includes not being in the changing room at any point, get it in writing.
  10. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    My post
    should have read enter the girls room or the boys room....just to make sure there is no misunderstanding
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  11. The-Gaffer

    The-Gaffer Occasional commenter

    Agree totally

    If your told by "higher up" you don't need to be in the changing rooms get it in writing because I'm telling you straight by being in there 99% of your problems won't exist

    If someone tells you not to go in there WILL be issues but you need to have the proof you've been told not to enter when Johnny (not necessarily gonna be a Johnny) pulls down Freddie's (not necessarily gonna be Freddie's) shorts & everyone laughs

    That's just for starters

    I can't believe PE teachers don't thunk its part of thier job to man the changing rooms
  12. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    We had changing rooms with shared showers and no cubicles, single sex of course.

    One day being a bit of a Science nerd and a bit of a "lad" I made my own stink bomb in a "Fairy Liquid" bottle (Other brands are available) and after an incident when my dad tried to use it to wash the dishes which didnt go down well, I took it to School in my PE bag.

    In the changing rooms my mate asks me what it is, so I tell him and he doesn't believe me, so reached over and gives it an almighty squirt. The smell brought tears to the eyes, ye gods it was bad.

    The PE staff knew exactly what to do, they came in, locked the windows and left locking the door behind them leaving all of my group and myself in there to stew*.....I wasn't popular. Actually, make that really unpopular, some quite rude words were said.

    After what felt like forever the PE staff returned announcing "We don't want to know who did that" at which point my entire group started shouting my name repeatedly, gits.

    IIRC I got a slippering for that, thanks lads.....

    Happy days.

    *Don't yah just love PE staff.
  13. brighton56

    brighton56 Occasional commenter

    Interesting predicaments for primary schools. Most primary schools do not have changing rooms and the toilets would not be able to cater for the number required to get changed. It works if two classes are doing PE at the same time but what if you are 1 form entry? What if you have only male or only female staff?

    Also, I've always had Years 3, 4 and even 5 changing in the same room. It has only been Year 6 changing in separate rooms. Am I the only colleague who has Year 3 all changing together?!

    With regards to supervision, I always try to look busy either sat at my desk typing or marking books but the reality is you need to be in the room to control the behaviour. Boys, although not all, tend to be more relaxed and I'm often shooing them away whilst they are stood in just their underwear trying to talk to me.
    Grandsire likes this.
  14. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    I assume the regular weigh-in was to ensure that we were not anorexic/obese. I have no idea. It was written down in a book together with our height. We all sat there in our undies and were called out in alphabetical order. We stepped on the scales, had one of those wooden height measures dropped down onto our head to record our height, then metal bits were shoved along the scales until it balanced in order to record our weight.
    I was not particularly tall but I was heavier than most. I wasn't fat (then). In retrospect I had a respectable figure but oh how I cringed, how inadequate I felt, how body conscious I felt - and there was nothing wrong with me.
    P.E. was compulsory even in the sixth form. My sixth form report stated "Saluki does not attend P.E. lessons" which says it all really. Away from school I took part in swimming and loved walking and outdoors activities. Still do
  15. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    That's why I never learned to swim.


    I made up lie after lie after lie.

    So I didn't learn to swim.

    Nobody could have forced me to strip off in public. Nobody.
    Pomza likes this.
  16. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    Gosh, it has never occurred to me, as a female primary teacher, not to be in the room while children change - of either gender. I now teach only girls and they seem happy enough to strip off regardless of who’s around! Eg they need the loo and ask to go while in underwear only, and I have to tell them to put some clothes on before going!! Previously taught y6 - changed separately, I supervised the boys and there was NO WAY I’d leave them unattended -all hell would break loose. I usually checked my email or cracked on with some marking, occasionally glancing around the room. When I taught y4 they all changed together, until half way through one year one girls mum said she was starting to feel self conscious as she was developing, so we changed it.

    I was at secondary school in the late 90s-early 00s. The shower horror stories were rife in y6 but came to nothing - the showers didn’t work! Relief all round. Female PE teachers were in the room whilst we changed - no big deal. We didn’t do swimming in secondary, but in primary we weren’t allowed (let along forced!) to shower and all Just used towels to cover up as we changed!
  17. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Now you know what happened to all the old 'black out' curtains.
    Jamvic likes this.
  18. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Let me point out that we were 'forced' to shower, and supervised in showers, in secondary, aged 16 and it would have been 18 if I had attended P.E. as I was supposed to.
    By this time I was driving myself to school in my own car and decided that I should assert my independence. I was also voting. Yet I was not considered capable of looking after my personal hygiene.
  19. ultimatedingbat

    ultimatedingbat Established commenter

    I have always used the pop in approach. I will stand at the door, with my foot in the door to keep it open. I will call in (vocally) at intervals to encourage them to hurry up! If I hear too much noise, I stick my head in. (Primary) this has always been how I've done it to make sure they're safely.
    Pomza and grumpydogwoman like this.

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