Three things to know about me before reading this. I am 24, I have a lovely girlfriend with whom i am blissfully happy and i teach PE every now and then as well as science.
So there I am the other morning, ready for the head of PE to tell me what I'm doing with which year ten (14/15 yr olds) group. Shorts, whistle, lets go! Alas i was told the weather was too bad (honestly, kids today!) and we were inside. I was then told i would take the fitness group in the small gym room. I immediately expected it to be mostly boys who play for local sports teams, and figured I would teach them how to use weights properly.
Then possibly the worst possible thing happened. 15 girls all in leggins and crop tops walked in. I say walked..i mean wiggled...with this i suddenly saw my once bright shiney new career vanish before my eyes. Images of these highly inappropriately dressed kids flirting with me, brushing past me then running to the nearest female staff member and making accusations of how i touched them. Luckily this didn't happen.
Instead one girl appeared with a boom box (old skool!!) and some really really crap music. This at least meant i could fade into the background a bit. some jumped on tread milss, other bikes, some rowing machines. All is well. I take a chance look up from my feet in this incredibly cramped room full of what can only be described as teenage girls competing for a "who looks most like a teen prostitute" award. To my horror the room is lined with...you guessed it...mirrors. Not only can I not avert my gaze but i have teenage girl flashing from all angles.
It must have been my face, but one girl did ask me if i was okay. i Told her to get on with her bike and went back to mstaring at my feet.
I hope you aren't thinking my gaze aversion was due to some embarrssed teenage boy syndrome hitting me in my twenties, it was genuine self preservation. For a young male teacher the nightmare is accusations of any sexual kind or even allowing the girls that whistle at you during lunch duty to think you are even mildly aware they exist.
Now in theory it should have been okay, butr then they start dancing, asking me to fix their foot straps on the machines and taking pictures of themselves and trying to show me. Needless to say i distracted them by saying if they spoke to me they had to do it lifting weights. Worked perfectly.
Once again this could have ended in tears and my home being besieged by parents thinking I'm a paedo. Pitch forks, torches, the whole shebang. All it would have taken was me to help one of them with a foot strap while they were rowing and them brushing against me, or me being seen to be looking at them dancing. One split second could have killed my career dead.
Being caught looking isn't sackable...especially if it's to shout at them for messing around on gym equipment. But if they think you are looking at them, they gradually push the boundaries of appropriate behaviout until before you know it they are full on flirting and the whole year group tortures you mentally for it. Rumors spread, you have to leave the school. Not for me
I'll take staring at my shoes then telling the head of PE that if he puts me in a situation like that again I'll either run aeway or insert some sports equipment into him. sideways. twice. Luckily he is a lovely bloke and understood and appologised.
Some staff not so understanding, teachers beware, kids assume you are a pervert.