‘It’s not our job to tell parents their child is overweight’

5th October 2018 at 00:00

Since moving to North America, I’ve realised just how overworked UK teachers and school administrators are. British teachers are expected to be curriculum experts, assessment wizards, nurses, nutritionists, and lead a whole host of extracurricular activities while triple-marking students’ work to boot.

A friend of mine in the UK received a letter home from her son’s school claiming that by an arbitrary BMI measurement, the boy is considered overweight. This child is active, happy, healthy, tall and fit and most certainly does not have a weight problem.

And aside from that, why does the official bureaucratic notice of fatness fall to already overworked educators?

Being a teacher in Britain is stressful, and many of the additional tasks teachers find themselves doing are a blatant waste of their time, qualifications and talent.

Although 19 states in the US send home notes alerting parents to their child’s high BMI score, the letters are sent by nutritionists hired by the school, not added to the groaning weight of paperwork on teachers’ desks.

And herein lies the difference between the two countries: although both nations are concerned about the rising rate of obesity in their young, only one thinks that teachers should be the ones to deal with the problem.

Fiona Tapp is a writer and a former primary schoolteacher of 13 years in Canada

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