Well, This Isn’t Going Swimmingly

, , , , | Learning | June 23, 2018

(I am a year-ten student in a basic sport class, which everyone at my school is required to take. Due to a medical condition I’ve had from birth, my hip is very weak, and my hip joint is not quite in place. Despite being put in corrective harnesses from birth, my hip will never be quite right. Normally this just means I have low stamina, and my hip aches when I’ve been walking a lot. Recently I had an injury where I got a tear in a tendon on my hip, and so I have a note from my mother explaining to my teacher that I cannot do sport.)

Me: *handing my teacher the note* “I’m sorry, miss, but I can’t do sport today, or for the rest of the term. I have a hip injury.”

Teacher: *reading the note quickly* “You don’t look injured. You can’t just get your mum to write you an excuse; I only let people who are actually injured get out of sport.”

(You cannot tell I have this injury by looking at me, only from x-rays.)

Me: “I understand that; I am injured. I have a pre-existing condition, from birth, which has flared up at the moment. I’m seeing a physiotherapist to help treat it, but it’s not better yet.”

Teacher: “I’ll let you off this once, but next week you have to do sport.”

(I have physio every Wednesday night, and sport on Thursday mornings. My current treatment is dry needling — acupuncture but with more pain and stabbing — which leaves me so sore and bruised I can hardly move. This happens the following week:)

Me: “Miss, I have another note. This one is from my mum and my doctor. My doctor doesn’t want me doing any sport until I’m better.”

Teacher: “This isn’t good enough; you can’t just get out of sport.”

Me: “I’m sorry, miss, but I literally cannot do sport. I can’t bend over, and even sitting down is painful. Swimming isn’t possible for me right now.”

Teacher: “If you don’t do any sport, I can’t pass you. You have to do sport to pass. Get changed before I give you a note home.”

(I end up getting in the pool that day, even though I can hardly move. My mum is furious and sends my teacher an email that includes a full 16 years of my medical history, with x-rays from my birth showing my defect, up until the most recent doctor’s letters. The reply says that I still have to do something, and I have to come in on the last day of term and complete three laps of the pool to pass. I show up on that day with two other girls in my class.)

Me: “Why are you guys here? Did the teacher threaten to fail you?”

Girl #1: “Yeah, but it’s fine. I can swim; I just didn’t want to.”

Me: “How did you get out of swimming in class, then?”

Girl #2: “It’s easy; I just lied and said I’m allergic to chlorine. [Teacher] didn’t even ask for a note!”

(I ended up just passing that class, and moved onto year 11 where I never had to do sport again. I went back a year ago and that teacher is still working there. I will never understand why she seemed to hate me so much. )

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