In my third year of teaching, my year 3 teacher colleague was out of school for the afternoon. Everything was going fine until a boy in his class started complaining that his bottom was hurting after he’d fallen over at lunch. His 1:1 came to me and asked what to do about it. I suggested that he go into the toilets to check he hadn’t bruised himself.
Completely forgetting about his autistic needs, I neglected to remind him to pull his trousers up before he came out again. So he walked out of the boys toilets with his pants and trousers around his ankles, trying to show his 1:1 and me the spot on his bottom he had found.
We both looked away immediately. I tried not to laugh at the awkward situation I had unfortunately gotten us into. I remember repeating myself to the nth degree. “Pull your pants and trousers up X!” As he stood there, in the doorway, with no shame at all, trying to get his 1:1 and me to look at his spot. After a third attempt at requesting him to dress himself, he replied with “look at me when you talk to me Miss A. It’s rude to not look at somebody when you talk to them!” We both had our hands out to cover a certain area of his body as we tried to get him to sort himself out. I asked him again and insisted we would phone his mum to come and look at this spot he had found. He wasn’t happy with that and decided to walk out into the corridor with his pants and trousers around his ankles still.
Then the Executive Headteacher and Head of School walked around the corner. Hearing my pleas repeated to deaf ears. The Executive Head put on her serious face and told the boy to pull his pants and trousers up, as I had already requested several times. She told him that nobody needed to see his bottom. We called his mum who came to have a look and said he looked like he had bruised his tail bone above his bottom – this isn’t what he was trying to show us at all!
Needless to say that I make it very clear to any child now, who thinks they’ve hurt their bottom or private parts, to check themselves but make sure they are dressed before they come back to see me. If they think they can see anything that alarms them, we will phone their parent to come and check them for peace of mind.
I can’t imagine that if I didn’t have his 1:1 with me, what any other adult in school would have thought to seeing me desperately screeching at a child to pull his pants and trousers up in the middle of the corridor. Luckily, with said child, it was not too difficult to imagine such a situation happening. By all accounts worse things had happened with him in school.
What can I say? Working with children, there is never a dull moment!