Saturday, January 30, 2010

Common Sense

Just found a post I wrote back in August and never posted for some reason... maybe common sense. Well, common sense is gone now and there's nothing to stop me. But, apparently, I am not the only one without common sense.

I am beginning to realize that the begining of Junior High means adjusting to more than one unusual thing... in my sheltered children's lives, that means locker rooms.

Junior High is an interesting time. Most of its memories I try to block from all corners of my consciousness. Still, there are some that press through my memory wall, preventing any chance of losing certain events. Rats!

One of these memories was in 7th grade. When I reached the harsh realization that all my 12 years of being a prudish, covered-up Mormon girl had to be left at the locker room door of my PE class.

In order to “dress out” for PE (which of course, is required for a grade) I had to change... IN FRONT OF ALL MY PEERS. And if I didn’t want to smell like a wet cat for the rest of the day, I had to shower, at a shared shower... IN FRONT OF ALL MY PEERS. Of course there was special mention made that one was NOT to use the toilet stalls to change so I didn't dare risk detention for privacy.

Consequently, I perfected a sly technique a couple decades ago. I learned how to carefully slip my clothes on and off without ever actually being undressed. And although I am sure you are all terribly interested, I will not go into detail here. Suffice it to say, I had crazy skills. But until I developed those skills, I was so embarrassed. I am pretty sure I was the only 7th grader who hadn’t made a trip to the “training bra” rack at Mervyns. In fact, I noticed (not that I tried) that most every other girl around me had begun to develop slight curves, distinguishing them into the female class. I, on the other hand, had nothing. NOTHING. And so the comparisons began… like they often do for growing (or not so growing) children.

Seriously, who actually thinks it’s a good idea to take 12 and 13 year olds, in their most awkward time of their life, and have them dress together in a locker room? As if they didn’t have enough pressure to perform just right in PE so they don’t look like a complete idiot. As if they aren’t self conscious enough. As if all teenagers are super kind and loving – and don’t care what people look like.

I really wish I could have been at the meeting when "the-powers-that-be" decided the community locker room was a good idea for young teenagers.

Imagine with me for a moment, a board of the most highly respected child & adolescent experts sitting around a glossy oval table, sipping coffee and delicately nibbling at their fruit filled pastries. Each presenting ideas for developing this new thing they call middle school. Or Junior High.

They discuss curriculum, extra curricular activities, fundraising, etc. Then, upon coming to the topic of physical education, Jethro (because I am pretty sure that was his name) says, “I know. Let’s put aldem tee-NAgers in da same room to change the’r britches.” And as he guffawed at the thought, jelly dripped from the corners of his mouth onto the most important note on his paper.

The note that said, “NOT A GOOD IDEA!”

I still find it terribly uncomfortable to be in a locker room at the gym (maybe this is why I never exercise). There is really no private place to be. Except the toilet stall. (Which I always use to dress in – I will even flush the toilet half way through changing so people don’t think I am cheating.) Even if I don’t have any changing to do and I am...uh...  lets say just , “using the facilities”... I don’t want to walk through and see someone hanging out or maneuvering into a pair of jeans. There are just some images I don’t care to burn into my brain -- like someone applying deodorant.

Considering all these things I have mentioned, I find it BAFFLEING that educators would think it was a good idea to have an open locker room for 12 and 13 year olds. AND, as if it weren't bad enough,  encourage them to shower and dress with next to ZERO privacy. I just don’t get it.

Couldn’t the "powers that be" find it in their heart to cut the budget somewhere else – maybe get rid of the yellow highlighters or the little poof-balls on the marching band hats – and put up some privacy screens. Or something.

For the love of all that is… uh, private. Let my poor child have a little solitude while he (or she) is at this vulnerable age…


Beth said...

We can't even get kids to bring Gym clothes anymore! I feel your pain, tho!

Emmy said...

So so true! In my junior high we were required to shower.. i.e the gym teacher would stand at the outside of the tree type shower and you would have to give your name as you left, to ensure that you showered. Yeah.. talk about horrible.

I never ever want to go back to junior high.

That Girl said...

I have (horribly) vivid memories of my own PE locker room experiences.

Boys are somehow worse off, or so I hear.

Can DEFINITELY wait until I have to worry about this with my own boys ... maybe they'll change the rules by then? Maybe? (I might have to start writing to the authorities NOW ...)

Märta said...

One more reason I am grateful to homeschool! Especially the Middle School Years! Teaching math is not so bad :)... could be worse hahaha.

Shellee said...

I always made sure that I had 6th hour sports/P.E. I was more developed than my peers and was always uneasy. I, too, developed "mad skills" at changing. I find it interesting that with all the harrassment in schools, this is something that hasn't been resolved!