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PE teacher seems sexist

Dear Sam, Two weeks before the summer holidays, me and the rest of my year got new timetables because we were moving up into our next year. The timetable I got was great, I got on with all the teachers very well except for one: My P.E teachers. My two P.E teachers are both male, which makes me feel uncomfortable being a girl. It's not that I don't like male teachers or anything, it's just that I feel like they could walk into the girls changing rooms any moment or something, I doubt they would do that though. Anyways, they split us up into boy and girl classes and the teacher I got isn't very encouraging. I love football, and the previous teacher I had plays for a Women's Football Team (that I happen to support) and she really encouraged me and I felt comfortable and a little bit confident, even though I was the only girl to play with the boys, but I didn't mind and neither did they. But now whenever I play football or ask if we're doing anything with the boys, the teacher just ignores me and goes over to the boys and watches them play their sports and encourages them, while I'm with the girls (I don't think any of them really like me) in a fitness room doing exercise every single period we're at P.E and I don't think it's very fair. It's as if he doesn't want us to play any of the "boy sports" and just wants us to stay in the fitness room on a treadmill for 50 minutes! I really want to tell someone at school, but I feel like the teacher I have might treat me unfairly because I told someone that I feel uncomfortable in that class with that teacher and that I don't feel like it's fair. I don't know what to do when I go back, could you help me?

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Sam

Hi there,

It's never okay for someone to treat you differently based on your gender. Sport is for everyone, no matter whether you're a boy or a girl and your PE teacher should know better than to discourage you from taking part. It's always okay to stand up and speak out if you feel you are being treated unfairly and there are a few ways you can do this.

You might want to talk to your teacher directly. It's important to be prepared that they might react badly, but if it's done correctly and respectfully then they shouldn't have any problem with this. It can help to be assertive when you decide to talk. If they do react badly, this is something you could take higher up to the head of year or someone more senior at the school.

If you feel unable to talk to your teacher directly, then you might be able to ask another teacher to speak on your behalf. Having someone you trust speak for you can be a very powerful way of changing things when you are unhappy.

Finally you could ask the people who look after you at home to talk to school for you. Whether you live with parents, family or carers, they are there to make sure you are looked after - and this includes your time at school as well. Speaking to them about it could be a good first step if you're unsure what to do next.

As always Childline is here for you too - if you want to talk you can get support whenever you need it. Take care.

Sam

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