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To be fed up with the way it's seen as OK to belittle/tease children who aren't very good at sport

(103 Posts)
Blueskiesandbuttercups Fri 10-May-13 16:46:06

2 of my children like me are dire at sport,all sport, however they love to cycle,hike etc so are fairly fit.

Their lack of sporty ability doesn't bother me in the slightest as they're all bright,doing well academically and are fit however the attitude towards this lack of ability does.

Ds9 is enduring continual teasing at his lack of football ability,he even joined a team to improve (his idea as he's no quitter) however other team members love to tease him and the other bench sitters at school which does zilch to sort out.Dd is ribbed when she comes last(pretty frequent according to her)and her teacher commented on how she had failed to catch a ball all term in front of the whole class, telling her off(we've tried to no avail to improve her ball skills at home).

What annoys me is if children were to go round teasing children who struggle academically or teachers highlighted poor achievement in other areas in front of the whole class there would be uproar.

The constant negativity just makes it worse.

So utterly fed up with it dp told DS to point out to his two football bullies their lack of academic achievement.Ds is a kind boy but he says today he did just that,I'm not happy but am now thinking along the lines of what is good for the goose is good for the gander.


Darkesteyes Sat 11-May-13 17:54:16

OMG How could i have forgotten this. I had a rounders ball hit me smack on the nose when our Miss Cunty insisted on playing rounders in the school gym because it was raining. Luckily it wasnt broken (my nose that is) just a very bad bleed.

Other posters have mentioned that the people who used to be good at sport at school are now at least a size 18/20 Well im currently a size 20 and i was crap at PE. I was called fat at school but looking back on old photos i was curvy rather fat.
I remember going jogging on my own one day one weekend when i was about 14. I got to the top of the next road and bumped into one of the kids who used to take the piss in PE. They started their usual shit so i turned back home and didnt go jogging again.
If i had been encouraged more as a child instead of ridiculed i dont belive i would have been 21 stone by the time i was 28.
I lost ten stone ten years ago but have regained 4 so im trying to lose it again. But i shudder at the thought of jogging or gym or ANY kind of excersise in public. i WONT do it.
Unfortunately i was overweight when i went to my school reunion 2 years ago. I was dreading it but when i got there all they said was "how on earth do you have no lines or wrinkles ( a lot of my school contemperaries have had a life of using sunbeds and Botox.) I hate the sun and have never sunbathed or seen the inside of a tanning salon.
But the problem with schools and PE is the lack of sportsmanship. They dont seem to know how to teach this and it needs to go hand in hand with teaching.
I was good at reading and literature at school and still love books. On my first high school report i was praised for helping a friend who was weaker at this than me. But this was just in writing so the only people who got to see this was me and my parents.
Everyone got to see my humiliation on the sports field though.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Sat 11-May-13 14:16:28

Yaddnbusad It annoys me too. And just because you don't excel at some ghastly school team pe sport doesn't meant to say that you're not good at other activities not covered in PE.

I have dire memories of teams being picked, shouty PE teachers, gobby kids making you feel like shit for not catching something (dd says all this still goes onhmm and suffers as I did).

It's the same with drama. You can't be quietly not good at it. You have to be not good at it in front of everyone else.

If you are hopeless at maths/english etc no-one jeers at you. No-one needs to know. Otoh if you are unfortunately there's not much opportunity to rub everyone's nose in the fact (preferably the ones who make you feel rubbish in PE).

IrritatingInfinity Sat 11-May-13 14:05:45

One of my PE teachers it may have been Ms Cunty used to regularly and publicly tell me off for being pigeon toed shock. I think it may have made me run faster though hmm

IrritatingInfinity Sat 11-May-13 14:01:35

MrsMook. Great post. I bet you are a good PE teacher.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Sat 11-May-13 13:29:48

My best mate and I were the two kids in the class who sucked at sport. Both quite slight and slim, my friend received racial abuse for needing a special math class and on top of that? She did poorly at sports? What sort of Asian was she pretending to be?!? angry
Deep Breath... Anyway, we had several sports going on at once and my friend was hit so hard in the face by a baseball her nose was clearly broken in several placeless, bleeding and she was weeping. I ran frantically to Ms Cunty. and you know what she said? "Hang on I'm just explaining to XZY how to properly throw a baseball." I ended up screaming at her and an ambulance came. She didn't dare use us her scapegoats again, even though before the final incident we were literally picked for every demonstration, We always had to start warm ups by running as she knew even as first to start we'd be last to finish. Quit often she's yell things like 'I know the bell went but SpecialAgent and Friend haven't had a go at batting/catting/running/humiliating themselves yet. No one gets to leave until they both do.'

I look back on the woman with actual hatred

Abra1d Sat 11-May-13 13:22:09

The only thing about streaming is that it would make some children just resign themselves to being in the 'bottom' set. And I wonder if it could make the crowing of some of the very cocky sport ones even more unbearable.

OrangeMochaFrappucino Sat 11-May-13 12:06:14

I vividly remember being told age 7 (1990) by the teacher that a boiled cabbage could play rounders better than me. As a painfully shy child, a sport like rounders where everyone is staring at you was torture for me. From that day, I made a conscious decision to never try again in PE - I took the stance that if I publicly hated it and was never seen take an effort then I couldn't be humiliated. By high school, I simply skived PE where possible and hated exercise until adulthood.

What really strikes me now though is that no teacher ever once showed me HOW to play any kind of sport - they never taught techniques or offered strategies to those struggling. As a teacher now myself, this astonishes me! If a child in my class has difficulty grasping something I differentiate the work so they can access it and improve. I can't believe that when it came to PE we were just expected to get on with it.

I never got bullied by other kids though, perhaps because I made it so clear that I didn't care about being crap at PE - I actually did though, just hid it well!

manicinsomniac Sat 11-May-13 11:36:09

kiriwara - maybe at the school you have experience of but certainly not at all schools. I have already gien a list of the multiple 'all in' events many schools have where some children shine and others don't and also outlined how sports day can be an inclusive for all experience while still maintaining competitive drive.

And I just don't think it's ok to teach a child that any school subject 'doesn't matter'. It certainly doesn't matter if a child is good or bad at it but, as a subject and an experience, it matters.

MrsMook Sat 11-May-13 11:34:52

So many familiar experiences! PE was a catalogue of depressing experiences. I moved house and school at the end of the school year at 7, so was in the school a couple of weeks before sportsday. It would have been useful if the teacher had asked if I could skip before putting me in for a skipping race. After tripping over the blooming thing a few times, I flung it to the ground and stomped to the end in last place. I then had to stomp back to collect the blasted thing.

I was rubbish at running, throwing and catching. The worst years were y7 &8 mixed PE with a foul teacher, who'd shout things like "you're not even trying" above my rasping breath as I hyperventilated my way around the running track. I've been susceptible to knee injuries following a "joke" when the most athletic person in the class thought it would be hilarious to set off on the hurdles too soon and caught up with me on the last one and crashed into me. I was also the last in the team picking where the last 3 were inevitably S, K then me in that order. Once there was an odd number in tennis so rather than being allowed in a 3, I was sent to play against the wall. The wall won.

It got better. In y9 I had a teacher who twigged partway through the year that I couldn't put on being that awful so consistently, and acknowledged that I was at least trying, and bought the kit each time rather than making excuses. In y10 & 11 we got more choices which was much better especially when the fitness suite was built.

All along I did dancing which I wasn't great at, but enjoyed. I learnt to swim at 16- swam 25m for the first time, and within a year could swim a mile. I did my Gold DoE award (the swimming was the physical section). I learnt to ride a bike at 19. I've taken up yoga gone to other fitness classes, go hiking. I've got the last laugh, I'm fit, healthy and can still wear some clothes I had as a teenager (and not look rediculous) Meanwhile the wonders of FB reveal the physical decline of my "superiors" on the sports field.

The other irony is that I've done a lot of PE supply in various schools. There is improvment going on generally- the range of activities is improving, there are more choices particularly for older years, and PE covers other useful areas like coaching, not just teams and competitive attitudes. The old style PE teacher that bought me two hours of misery and humiliation a week is becoming extinct.

IrritatingInfinity Sat 11-May-13 10:58:20

I think schools need to operate a 3 tier approach. The groups should be very fluid and DCs able to move groups.

A) Team sports etc - competitive

B) Team sports etc - recreational

C) Healthy FUN activities (this does not mean doing lunges for the entire length of the school field smile )

Catlike Sat 11-May-13 10:19:42

Yes to being made to go through the showers and then having to stand naked and wet in front of the teacher to prove you had showered.

That is downright abusive. I really hope children these days have more privacy in their after PE showers. There were NO curtains in mine and at that age, one of my worst nightmares was to be naked in a room full of people.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 11-May-13 10:12:33

The issue for me is that my dd has been told in front of the others to put more effort into it and try harder. She does try but like me can't do it and has come home in tears over that public comment. Further a couple of very sporty girls laugh at her and eyeroll if she is put on their teams; in front of the teacher who sees it and hears it and does nothing.

If the same happened in other subjects the girls would be punished and the staff would be dealt with. PE has not in my opinion moved on since the 70s and it is very very wrong.

I had the last laugh though - I bumped into little Miss Sporty nastiness about six or seven years ago back home. She served me in the supermarket - bingo wings flapping and at least a size 18/20. I was gracious but it was very tempting indeed to ask why. She hadn't kept up with keeping fit and to make a comment about how her adeptness at team work hadn't exactly helped her be successful. But I wasn't a hurtful child at school so I didn't but I think she recognised me and the glow it gave me made me feel ashamed.

Finally, I think I'm going to print this off and send it t dd's PE teacher.

Kiriwawa Sat 11-May-13 10:00:18

manicinsomniac - sports day is the only school activity where children have to take part and feel they will be noticed if they are failing, right from the moment they start school.

DS does have some SN (going through a DX at the moment) so I know there are reasons behind his lack of physical prowess. It doesn't stop the whole experience being any less humiliating for him so I will take him out of school for the day on sports day because I want him to know that it doesn't matter

DumSpiroSpero Sat 11-May-13 09:46:39

YANBU - I was one of those kids and although DD hasn't been teased yet, she's not sporty and I can see it happening at some point. I am actually delaying her joining dance club at the moment - she is big for her age (only a little chubby which we're working on, but tall and big boned) and not terribly coordinated and I am imagining it not going terribly well. Thankfully she has other commitments at the moment which get in the way, so have said she can start in September if she still wants to do it. I want her to have a go but am dreading it.

Re Sports Day and your DD - would you consider just taking her out of school for the day? I think I would if was distressing my DD that much year after year.

Catlike Sat 11-May-13 09:40:59

I hated PE and completely disagree that "team" sports are character building or any of the bollocks that is spouted. I truly think that PE should teach healthy lifestyle and offer activity rather than "sport".

I couldn't agree with you more. The trouble is, this doesn't sit well with the reactionary anti-PC types, who are probably in the majority.

They will howl about the need for competition, how non competitive sport equals celebration of failure, the need to prepare kids for the real world by making them compete against each other, how character building team sports are, the future of British sport etc, etc. I've seen it many times before.

LeonieDeSainteVire Sat 11-May-13 09:36:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

silverten Sat 11-May-13 09:28:51

PE lessons as I had them were a total waste of time.

No teaching, just got the equipment out and told to get on with it. You were either good at it or not but there was little to no chance of developing any skill at anything. I picked up injuries that will last me a lifetime through being made to do things incorrectly without warming up first.

I was shit at everything we did and just tried to keep my head down most of the time. The one time we did something I liked that I was really trying to be good at, I was told laughingly by the teacher that I as "the most uncoordinated child she'd ever seen". That was the sum total of instruction I received in tennis and predictably I stopped trying to be any better at that as a direct result of her comment.

You will never see me in a gym or doing any sort of exercise class, I've had more than enough of that nonsense to last me a lifetime.

It was only when I discovered cycling at university that I realised what all the attraction of being fit was.

My MIL often comments about my DD learning to catch balls or hop or something, as if that sort of rubbish was actually important. I'll put that nonsense down as hard and as often as I can. No child of mine is going to have to feel bad about not being able to hit a ball with a fucking stupid stick if I've got anything to do with it.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sat 11-May-13 07:14:58

Sadly Who I don't think they have.

I experienced all that did in the 80s except the fatty comment,'twas 4 eyes instead for me.

Wonder if they taught shower humiliation at teacher training.

Maybe we should start a MN campaign for PE streaming.grin

Whowouldfardelsbear Sat 11-May-13 04:20:04

Yes to the being picked last for teams

Yes to bullying from the teachers (one even called my friend "fatty" once)

Yes to being made to go through the showers and then having to stand naked and wet in front of the teacher to prove you had showered.

This was the 1980s. Really hoping things are better by the time my DDs start school.

Darkesteyes Sat 11-May-13 01:32:30

dementedma your son should have got his McFlurry. That is discriminatory and completely sends the wrong message.

PaWithABra Sat 11-May-13 01:17:52

I am so glad that our primary encourages non competitive sports and has a participation sports day, after reading this thread..

It was strange at first , and as outr eldest son is naturally athletic it seemed a non issue. It is very good to hear why schools should encourage sports for all and do away with competition.

Darkesteyes Sat 11-May-13 00:59:39

I had the always picked last thing too.
In fact it went a bit further than that. At the end of the choosing teams bit they used to fight over NOT having me on the team
"no you have Dark we had to have her last time" etc.
Both PE teachers knew what was going on and did FUCK ALL.
So i walked out of a PE lesson and refused to take part any more until the teacher sorted out the bullying. (did her fucking job)
A couple of years later the same bastard kids who were treating me like shit asked me to take part in the relay on sports day cos they didnt have enough people to do it.
I wondered why they were asking me if i was so shit at it.
They said they were one short and just needed me to make up the numbers.
So i then said "but you will be moaning and having a go at me if i cant run fast enough"
"oh we wont" they insisted.
Well going by past experience and the way you have treated me in PE lessons i think thats bollocks.
So i refused to do it and to this day im proud that i stood my ground and refused to be used by them!

DrCoconut Sat 11-May-13 00:48:50

I hated PE and completely disagree that "team" sports are character building or any of the bollocks that is spouted. I truly think that PE should teach healthy lifestyle and offer activity rather than "sport". Walking or even something like gardening where you get out in the fresh air and have an end result would be fab. The vast majority could be engaged and get fitter instead of the select few getting all the glory while the less able are marginalised. Keep the football, netball etc for those that like it. Until chess club is mandatory sports day should not be either.

Snazzynewyear Sat 11-May-13 00:13:31

dementedma that is completely unfair! Demand your son's McFlurry! Seriously, I would definitely speak to the head about it. He may just not have thought of the implications, but as it is he has a pupil good enough to represent the school in an academic event, who is now feeling that his efforts were not worthwhile as they were not recognised.

Agree with the general drift here - I hated PE and always ended up doing the less good stuff as all the cliquey girls got the best events (i.e. 100m where it was all over sooner rather than puffing round 1500m painfully slowly).

Startail Fri 10-May-13 23:58:18

As Married says it's when the PE teachers and the school ethos jumps on the being sporty is vital band wagon that things get out of hand.

DDs school celebrates sporting success in it's newsletters, but it also celebrates academic, charitable and musical endeavours too.

DD1 sings in both choirs, DD2 plays any sports tournament going. The school ethos appreciates both their efforts in doing activities beyond turning up for lessons, equally.

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