At a leaving do for a very attractive teacher at the school I teach at the boss said that she was always given the bottom set boys groups, because from the moment she walked into the room they would just go silent [here he did imression of them gawping at her] and then she could imress them with her teaching skills.
I felt a bit uncomfortable with the comment - but feel that that kind of remark is often accepted as a joke. I just think it reminded me of how often women are judged on their attractiveness first and foremost.
AIBU to find it incredibly crass to mention this in a leaving speech (and to imply that this is the reason for this particular staff member being given boys' groups).
I think there is something in the head's comments. Children do notice if a teacher is pretty. Maybe we wish they wouldn't but I have seen it happen. There is one very very pretty teacher in my son's school, and the children defintely flock round her. I'm not sure it is appropriate to mention in a leaving speach though!
The headteacher probably said it because it is true. It is offensive but unfortunately this kind of thing still goes on. My best friend is also a gorgeous young secondary teacher in an underperforming school and she always gets the naughty boys too, for pretty much the same reason. As a parent it wouldn't bother me if it brought the standards up.
I'd see it as a crass joke, but not necessarily a sexist one. Have heard similar about attractive male teachers. In fact, a certain mr alexander was the only reason half my school chose Chemistry. Doesn't make it right, obvs.
This totally sucks. And it happens a lot in teaching. A sort of group assumption that teenage boys are a ball of hormones who can barely prevent themselves from ejaculating whenever a woman under the age of eighty walk into the room.
It does a disservice to the boys and is also massively insulting for the teacher.
It takes a lot of talent, skill and expertise to get the best out of a low ability set (or top set. Or any set) of boys. Filling out a blouse nicely aint one of them.
If the Head honestly thinks that chucking in a female NQT with a neat waist and shiny hair to the bottom set groups is going to secure the C/D borderline grades that he needs then God help him come results day.
The thing is, he doesn't honestly think that. She was given those classes because she's good with them, and he knows it.
However, what the Head does think is, "My, she's a fine figure of a girl" and he reckons that saying what he did was a compliment. This is because schools are horribly old fashioned, hierarchical and patriarchal institutions - heavily female dominated but with a massively disproportionate number of men near the top, many of whom take a creepy avuncular attitude towards the professional and capable grown women on their staff.
I love the teaching. I don't love any of the rest of it.
My old Head once patted me on the head and said "Come in, Trouble" to me when we had a meting about the DIP.
I was a mother in my thirties, with several years teaching experience and a second in my department.
It's problematic because so much of the pupils' experience of school needs to be that hierarchical set-up, it is often unthinkingly transposed to the staff, too. And this always means women at the cutting edge of this.
My results are good, so I am tolerated. But I am definitely seen as "one of those". Much younger, less experienced, less 'proven' colleagues have progressed faster than I have because they are willing to play along with the idea that they are 'girls' to be managed and 'looked after' when doing the big important stuff outside of the classroom.
of course you're right to be annoyed. i would be too.
i bet the teacher is glad it was her leaving do and she's going elsewhere - maybe her new job will appreciate her for her professional ability and not her looks.
depending on the relationship you have with the head, i would consider asking him if he wasn't worried that what he said had been insulting to the ex-colleague's professional ability... and wasn't he worried it might have come accross that he thought that she was only good because she was pretty? [passive-agressive that i am when it comes to misogyny]