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pe in year 6 boys barechested

Discussion in 'Physical education' started by marshallb, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. hi jon 1985

    Your post was very sad and raises more than just the issue of pe kit.

    It sounds as if you work for a Headteacher who wants the easy life of agreeing to parental complaints without proper consideration. It is ridiculous that a parent can make such an issue of this matter and expect you to be dismissed. It is also ridiculous that the Headteacher is responding in such a way. How would these parents and Heads have responded when only 15 years ago boys in pe lessons were all expected to go topless for indoor pe. Now perverts and paedohilia is seen in everything. In one school I did supply in I came across a teacher who ran football teams for 20 years but wont do so anymore because some parents raised an issue with the Head along the lines of "why would a man want to spend most of his spare time running football teams for the children and other sporting activities" They were parents of children with no sporting interest so had nothing to lose. The Head listened and questioned him about it even though there has never been a problem in 20 years. Needless to say it was a relatively new Head and now they have no extra curricular sport at all so angry and hurt is the teacher.

    Most sad in your post is the attitude of your colleagues who you say are not backing you.

    In future if there are any kit problems you cant resolve on the spot send for the Headteacher directly as a matter of urgent Health and Safety. Do that three or four times and you might get some backing.

    Good luck with what is a very sad and difficult situation.
  2. Jon1985 - what about the idea of having some spare white vests that lads can borrow? They tend to hate borrowing kit, but if they forget theirs then make it clear that it's borrow or 'skins'.
    As for your head I would ask him to write down what he wants the lads to wear for indoor PE, he is the head. If he is happy for you to be lenient then perhaps you will have to let the kit issue go and aim for full participation.
    I agree with marshallb's idea of getting the head to resolve kit issues.
    P.S. re the slightly fat boy! I would have thought he would feel more comfortable in his own white vest, which you know he possesses, than going bare chested. If he chose not to bring his vest then he had to face the consequence.
    Good Luck, I'm sure this will never result in dismissal; if it did then you're best shot of such an archaic institution and you would have a case for unfair dismissal, bit that?s another story??
  3. Jon - I'd like to say I am shocked and surprised by your HT's reaction but as others have said he is taking the easy route. IMO not good for the school as it shows no support for the staff. What I am more surprised by is the other staffs reaction. I would expect you to be better supported in the staff room.

    I am not a PE specialist; just get roped in to help. The joys of independent schools. I've found it's very common for boys not to be expected to wear tops indoors. My most recent school was an exception as it has within the last few years changed from all girls to coed and is a bit puritan. 6 inch rule, no coed groups unless more than three present, no holding hands type of things! (Genuine rules). Even there where the policy was for the boys to wear t-shirts in the gym the lads would regularly ask if they could take them off. Not a case of posing for the girls as classes were single sex, on grounds of hygiene or health & safety but purely because they were more comfortable. IMO their choice. Only times it was compulsory was for team sides ie shirts v skins but I've never known a big issue about that. You do get some boys, especially new boys, who may be a bit self conscious at first but it's soon forgotten, especially when they realise that not all of their classmates are super fit six pack toting athletes.

    A lot depends upon what they are accustomed to. I have worked at a number of independent boarding schools and the reaction to getting changed or showered in front of others seems to depend entirely upon what they see their peers do or is expected of them. Boys in my last school would happily wander about the house or changing rooms in just their underwear or a towel but heaven fordid that they were seen with nothing on. They would rather remain muddy until they could get back to house and use the individual showers. The school before that and the boys had no cares at all about using communal showers. No difference in ages, range of fat & thin etc but each group simply followed the norm for where they were.

    In your position as a new teacher you should simply let the situation develop itself unless you are under specific instructions from the lords & masters. As others have said - let them call the tune. The boys will soon let you know their preferences. In my experience most opt to do without a shirt indoors; (outdoors only when its hot - though I have had lads who'd take their tops off even in the winter when running, athletics & the like but not usually for team sports except occassionaly basketball).

    As for the original post. Why not? No reason why boys need to wear a top for PE. Being blunt, most don't have mammary glands which are seen as a social tabboo. You'd not expect them to wear a t-shirt with their swimming trunks even in a coed setting so no real difference when it comes to using the gym. You (and any teachers involved) would more likely have more cause for concern if we went back to my Prep school days when we boys were not expected to wear even trunks when at the pool. Again, back to what you are used to and is your 'norm'. Attitudes change. I don't think any of us even considered it unusual though in today' paranoid climate even someone like Jon expecting a 15 year olde to do without a shirt because the lad did not bring or refused to wear one can be taken by the PC and claimant brigade as something sinister.

    I was never a great sportsman, always one of the last to be selected for teams, never thin and had a tough time with some PE/Games staff, (still hate team games) but I am pleased looking back that I was encouraged/made to take part, shower with others etc etc. as it taught me lifeskills and views about what is now known as 'body acceptance'. OK, rant over. Sorry for the length of post.

    States of dress in PE should not be connected with punishment - it does not fit in with the get involved and take part attitude. Sadistic sports masters have hopefully been left in the 70's and early 80's. If a lad wants to wear a top, let them; if they don't, let them just so long as they are enjoying the activity. Obviously encourage them to make good choices but in these days its best not to 'enforce'.
  4. Dear All

    I am a female PE Teacher but I take a class of 14 year old boys for PE once a week.

    I have two boys in my class who always turn up for PE in tracksuit tops and I don't know how to approach the matter. All of the other boys have the standard rugby tops, which is the correct dress code.

    The other day we were indoors and I asked them to take their tracksuit tops off for a game of 'tag' but as one of the boys began to unzip his top he told me that he had nothing else to wear. After the game of tag had finished they put their tracksuit tops back on. I was reluctant to refuse as it would have meant them having to do the lesson bare chested in front of other boys who were fully clothed. I asked him to bring his rugby top in future, which I know he has, but this particular boy is still turning up in his Nike tracksuit top.

    What would you recommend?

    Many Thanks

  5. If a lad wants to wear a top, let them; if they don't, let them just so long as they are enjoying the activity. As quoted from Mister J.
    And what do you 'mean barechested in front of other boys'? I cannot see a problem with this if they are happy.
    My last post on this, it's getting a bit tedious!
  6. I'm very shy and don't accept as student to go barechested in PE lesson.
  7. accept or expect? Are you a student?
  8. As a parent I would not be comfortable with my child going barechested for PE lessons. If a child forgets their PE kit I would expect them to be in trouble and I would have though a spare PE kit, perhaps of a bright colour to stand out would be suitable punishment. In this day and age I would be worried and suspicious of any PE policy which enforced bare chests or showers. Perhaps its just I remember my own experiences as a very shy child having showers after PE and being watched by the teacher. I can safely say it was terrifying. Some children may be comfortable with the policy of bare chests but I do not think it has a place in school PE lessons. Leave barechests for boys swimming lessons please.
  9. Just to refer back to the original posting ..
    I'm a primary school PE coordinator and am shocked that so many people here think it is okay for pupils to do PE bare chested. For goodness sake, do we not have enough problems in the profession with children's low self-image and CRB-dodging perverts as it is these days?
    Put it this way, if you start to either prescribe bare chested PE, or even offer it as an option, you are opening a huge can of worms that will only make your teaching (and therefore your ability to meet pupil needs) more difficult in the long run. Problems such as a) parents complaining for several reasons b) children not wanting to expose their bodies and be compared/ridiculed in comparison to others and c) gender equality issues (for this read that we should discriminate against boys because they don't have breasts?).
    For goodness sake, we are not providing some sort of utopia where children can frolic in the sun - we are trying to teach them in a way that protects and nurtures them.
    Just tuck the bloody shirts in if they are going to get "caught" in equipment!
  10. I'm a female PE teacher and a gymnastics coach to boot. On all the many coaching courses that i have done, the British Gymnastic Tutors all state that girls should wear leotards and boys should wear the male eqivilant or go bare chested.

    I however am much more of a participation kind of girl (at the secondary school i work at i have to be). I'll inform pupils (and gymnasts at the club i coach at) what i think is the most suitable atire, i give them the resons and explain the risks of wearing baggy tops etc. It is then their decison, i would rather they take part that fake an injury to avoid humiliation.

    However, when teaching my yr 11 GCSE class (all boys) i actually forbid them to remove their tops as i feel it puts me in a very vulnerable situation.

    I do however have a bigger problem with socks and after the first week in which they are warned all are forbidden from wearing socks in my gymnastic lessons unless they have a note to explain why they should.

  11. It should be totally normal for boys being barechested in pe. Nobody cares at a swimming pool, where no boy will cover his chest and girls are present of course, why should one in a gym or a sport field even in the presence of girls? Shirtlessness is a natural male privilege in sports and should never be used for punishment. Boys should have the opportunity to be self-assertive with their body, not at all on a compulsary but on a voluntary basis. There might be exceptions when there are body issues like akne or puberal male breasts which might make it embarrassing for a boy to leave off his shirt.
  12. And the OP was re Year 6 boys afterall!
    We are turning into a totally PC, CRB terrifed bunch of teachers. How sad is that?
  13. GARDEN24

    GARDEN24 New commenter

    If that was the policy in my son's school, I would be sending him excusal notes each week.He's 11
  14. I rmember playing rugby in the snow at high school ...

    Skins versus Shirts! Great fun...

    The PE teacher shouted out things like "Earings are for puffs and girls" to the boy who had his earpierced.

    Punishments were press ups ("50!!! Bang em in lad" Can't do them??? Are you a tart?") and runs to the end of field...

    During football practice the male PE teacher ran around elbowing the pupils... This was in the ealry 90's !!! How times change!!!

    Great days...
  15. GARDEN24 - Why?
  16. Hi

    I have come across this discussion looking for information on the internet. I am a PE PGCE student and I a doing my first teaching placement in a boys' school.
    Their PE kit is like some have described it here. They wear white shorts but a barefeet and barechested.
    All the other members of the PE departement are men and do not seem to have a problem with it. I have tried to raise the issue of allowing them to wear t-shirts but have been told to stick be school rules. I somehow do not feel confident being expected next week to teach a group of semi-naked year 9 boys for the first time on my own. What can I do?
  17. If it is what they are used to and no one bats an eyelid in this particular school ,then I imagine it won't be an issue. Good Luck and let us know how it went. Do they just wear the shorts and bare chests for gym or all indoor activities such as volleyball, basketball etc?
  18. I've had my first two lessons on my own today. Year 7 and year 9 gymnastics. I think it went sort of OK but I still don't feel very comfortable with them wearing shorts only. It's very much a male environment and the boys, I think, let me know that I am not a full member of teaching staff.
    After praising two year nine boys during the lesson they came up to me and asked me if I thought that they were good sportsmen. They then stuck there chests out and asked if I thought that they had a good built and muscles. I tried to ignore it and it lasted only a few seconds but I think they must have overheard me rasing the shirtless issue with their normal teacher and they tried to embaress me . Not very pleasent.
    And yeas, they are shirtless for all indoor activites, including basketball, volleyball, etc
  19. Just tell them that their styloglossus is clearly well developed but the need to beware of overuse injury and need to rest it more often. Also remind them of the need to stretch muscles properly - and that, in fact, just standing there talking to them is giving you pain in the gluteus maximus.
    Then tell them that their physique reminds you of looking at two aspirins on a xylophone.

  20. I've recently begun teaching PE in a boys private senior school, and it is the same here that all boys do indoor PE shirtless, wearing just shorts though trainers are also compulsory. This is the case right through to and including the sixth form - I was surprised the sixth-form boys also have compulsory PE twice a week, since in my last school sport was entirely voluntary at that age. It's quite a harsh system, but the boys don't seem to mind, and it always seems to have been this way here - demonstrates how context is everything. The only thing I'm not too keen on is some of the punishments, including very intense extra gym sessions we have to take for misbehaviour, sometimes in other subjects (I had one boy reduced to tears, and now go easier than my colleagues). I'm now taking compulsory cross-country (again all boys at all levels have this once a week), and my predecessor apparently used to make some boys run it barechested as punishment - inhumane in my view given it's run in the winter and in all weathers.
    Anyone any thoughts on this?

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