Ding Ding - Round One

I've now had my first proper run in with Chloe's teacher.

Before the Halloween school break I went to the parent teacher meeting with a load of other mums and dads and amongst other things we were told that our kids would do PE on Wednesdays. Always Wednesdays! We were told that it would always be on a Wednesday so that we could plan ahead and know to dress our kids in something that they wouldn't have any trouble changing out of and into their PE kits. Fair enough.

We arrived at the school this morning and as we passed by the classroom door and into the cloakroom Chloe pointed out that all the PE bags were on their desks. Alright, I mean its not the end of the world. Yes, Chloe was wearing tights and her pinafore and her polo shirt with the buttons done up and her sweatshirt on over the top so not exactly the easiest outfit in the world to change out of but she can manage it, it just takes her a few more minutes.

We hung up her coat and put her bag away and as we were walking into the classroom one of the other kids arrived behind us with his dad. We walked into the classroom to see the four kids who had already arrived at school in the process of getting changed and, honestly I didn't imagine it, you've never seen four more uncomfortable looking kids in all your life.

The next thing I knew the teacher was clapping her hands and cheerfully telling all the kids, including Chloe, to go to their desks and start getting changed for PE.

My little girl wandered over to her desk and for a second looked at me before glancing at the dad now coming in the door behind me closely followed by someone from daycare dropping four kids off at school.

It takes a lot to phase Chloe and even without her being a bit upset by the whole scenario, it pissed me off greatly.

I clapped my hands loudly too. I'm nothing if not a fast learner and this is clearly the way to get attention in a classroom and told Chloe to go to her desk and wait until the bell rang, all the other boys and girls had arrived and her teacher had had a chance to close the door and draw the blinds before she was to get changed. Chloe looked grateful and the dad behind me and the girl from daycare immediately echoed my instructions to their own kids.

Once I was satisfied that Chloe was happy that she could wait until the parents of the other 20 or so kids still to arrive and anywhere in the region of 60 or so kids and their parents passing by the windows had all been and gone and she could dressed, I stood to leave and you could have knocked me over with a feather, I caught a glare from her teacher.

I've never been a shrinking violet so I glared back with a look that I think adequately conveyed the phrase "Try me sweetheart!" and then just to make sure I got my message across I walked over to her and very quietly told her that I was surprised that we hadn't been told yesterday that the day for PE had changed and that if we had been told we could have put our kids in their usual PE day clothes which they could change out of much more easily thereby negating the need for their teacher to try and get 15 minutes ahead of herself by publicly humiliating our children. I finished by saying that I'd be mortified and I'm sure she would too at the thought of having to strip to her pants in a wide open room with complete strangers wandering in and out and that while the children might only be four years old, they deserved the same respect and privacy that we would demand for ourselves.

She apologised and explained that it had slipped her mind that repairs were being carried out in the PE hall on Wednesday and her day had been moved forward. She realised that the children would take longer to change but hadn't foreseen any cause for concern at the children starting to change as they arrived.

Now I ask you. Are my standards really that high? Am I honestly asking too much when I ask that my daughter at least be allowed to change out of the gaze of a couple of dozen complete strangers? Surely not.

I think if our standards on the level of respect our children deserve while getting changed has differed to much on this matter I doubt this will be my last run in with her teacher.


  1. Good for you (God knows I'd hate to be caught by one of your glares!!). You were well within yours & Chloes rights to speak out & tell her. Teachers are always very quick to tell us what behaviour they expect - but when the boots on the other foot... mmmm.

  2. I think that teacher got off easy, as I would have handled it similarly to you (although probably without the clapping), and in addition to that I would have had a word with the principal about proper changing etiquette for students.

    Honestly, even at four, I think it is unreasonable for them to change in-class with the opposite gender.

  3. I'll go one step further than SciFi Dad and say that I'm surprised that 4-year-olds are dressing out at all. Here kids don't usually have to dress for PE until at least 5th grade, and never with the opposite gender.

    I also hear you about the scheduling change. Our school's "specials" (PE, Music, Art, Computer Lab and something like a citizen class) are on a complicated rotation and we receive a calendar at the beginning of each month. We'd never keep it straight without.

  4. My kids don't change for PE at their school either. Maybe we're just animals:)

    I think teachers for younger students sometimes forget just how self-aware a 4 yr old can be. You were right to correct her and help your daughter out! Good job, Mom!


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