Wednesday, October 31, 2012

He/she....we're all confused

A girl in one of my kids' classes at school has decided this year that she wants to be a boy. She now wears the boys' school uniform (not too unusual since many of the girls at the school wear shorts rather than the skort thing on offer for girls), has had her long hair cut very short, has shortened her name so it is now more boyish, and wants to play the same games as the boys at lunch time.

The other kids in the class don't seem too worried about it. My own child just shrugged when I asked him about it. Probably a fairly common response, I guess.

So this term I have finally managed to get my act together and help out in his class, after meaning to get around to this all year. On Monday, I worked with this ex-girl on some sight words.

The problem is, this child was also in my child's class in Kindergarten a couple of years ago. I used to work with him/her on sight words back then too. So on Monday, I did say "good girl" to him/her a few times. It was very hard not to slip back into the old habit. I apologised whenever I did it. He/she didn't seem to take offence when it happened.

Apparently there have been a few issues this week because the class have started doing an intensive swimming program where the kids all get changed into their swimmers and walk down to one of the local pools for swimming classes. This child wanted to get changed with the boys but the teacher wasn't happy with that plan. In the end, all the other boys got changed in the little withdrawal room off the main classroom and this other kid got sent into the boys' toilets. Awkward.

And my husband got to hear all of this story at school this morning when he returned a pair of girls' undies that had somehow found its way into our son's school bag after swimming yesterday, courtesy of one of the other boys in his class who thought it was a bit of a joke to have put them there.

My husband thought he was a victim of some unnecessary oversharing and overstepping of limits in confidentiality from the teacher when he heard that. But honestly, who'd be a teacher these days? It's not just about teaching them how to read, write and spell anymore. I'm not sure how I'd react if I was the teacher in that situation. If the family are supportive of this girl wanting to be a boy, then I suppose you would just have to go along with it. But what do I really think? I think it's all pretty weird actually.

We did both have a bit of a giggle when I heard that the teacher's response to the discovery of the female underwear in our kid's bag was "I'll get to the bottom of that." Chris said he came back with "No pun intended." But he said he didn't think she got the joke.

Or maybe with all this male/female drama it's just all past the point of being funny.


Wendy said...

I heard the other day that there are often three toilets in Switzerland: female, male, and ?other.

Our school has some twins who act and dress like this, but they are clearly classified as girls by the school. They have/had the whole school talking, though. They look like boys, but they are really girls? "Are you sure?" is what our boys have asked us. I'm just wondering what happens when puberty hits.

Sarah said...

I often wondered what happened to George from the Famous Five. I mean, she was 11 in the first book and there are 21 books in the series. I'm guessing by the end it would have been much harder for her to pretend to be a boy.